Hailing from Turin, Italy, The Black City are a group of seasoned musicians. Musicians who have travelled and played with acts like Lou Bega and Ossi Duri. Martin Craig (guitar/vocals), Simone Bellavia (bass/vocals), and Caldero (drums/ vocals) regularly showcase their fusion of funk, soul, blues, and rock at Biracecca Pub82 in front of some of Turin’s best musicians.
The group got together in 2015. Since then, they have used funk as a musical anchor, while also drawing on the diverse elements of their collective musical CV, and Wake Up. The Funk was born out of that approach.
“Inspired by the greats that came before us, we play the funk music we love, but influenced by our own stories as musicians – blues, rock, Latin and even reggae all find their way into this album that asks to be listened to actively and not passively as we are becoming so used to. Take a little time to enjoy listening to a story, each song its own unique chapter rooted in pure funk” – The Black City
Nine tracks make up an album which clocks in at little over half an hour in length. The title track is a strong opener and gets right to the point of The Black City. Here, popping bass lines mix with clever rhythmic hooks and flashy drum lines with jazzy overtones.
‘Cage’ is a lush blend of R&B stylings, featuring shiny guitar leads, bouncing bass grooves, and a darkly attractive vocal performance.
Topping the album is ‘Original Sound’. This track brings the reggae out in force. Fit with woozy wah-wah guitar lines, deep bass grooves, and a stellar harmonised vocal line. Even scat singing makes an appearance during the interludes, without coming across as gimmicky or contrived. The trio tap into many styles effortlessly.
Another highlight is ‘Hour of the Beasties’. It sparks with hyped-up, slick drums and an envelope filter-tinged bass groove. The slightly manic energy, mixed with the funk elements, has an early Chilis vibe about it.
This album isn’t for purists, but rest assured The Black City doesn’t veer so off course as to be unrelatable. The fusion element works because of their depth of musical experience, fitting their songwriting naturally. In the end, there’s not a bad track on the album.