The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Bumpus Digs Deep, We Dig

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 27, 2007 3:38PM

Modern bands that specialize in funk and soul tend to release pretty crappy studio albums. We suppose it has to do with the sterility of the studio, and the emphasis on "getting things just right," but for the most part a band that can get us sweating and dry-humping the stage in concert tends to leave us cold when we're reintroduced to them via personal listening system.

2007_04_bumpus.jpgBumpus' last studio album, Stereoscope, bucked that trend by focusing on interesting songwriting that infused their funk grooves with a healthy dose of pop smarts. Bumpus still used the studio as a modern tool, but they didn't let ProTools suck the life out of their work.

That was six years ago. That's a long time to go between albums.

In the interim the band released a live album and an E.P., but both of those releases felt like placeholders as the group reinvented itself. How do you follow up an album that synthesized most of your best qualities? That was the question Bumpus was working through, and we're glad they took their time coming up with a solution, because the answer is a doozy.

Bumpus' new All The People digs deep into the band's influences and delivers an amalgamation of Sly Stone's sweaty anthems, early Funkadelic rubbery folk beats, and Creedence Clearwater Revival's personal politicism. Whereas Stereoscope showcased a band coloring their grooves with recently discovered modern / indie rock / hip-hop sensibilities, All The People plunges both arms elbow deep in the primordial ooze to pull out music built around inner emotional truth. By looking back, the group -- led by singer James Johnston -- has finally figured out how to forge ahead. The disc is saturated in '70s chromatic style, and launches the band as a whole into a new state of maturity.

Bumpus has done something few modern bands have done by tapping into a deeply buried vein to rediscovers the sound of timeless soul music; by doing so, the band rediscovers their own strengths and, ultimately, themselves.

Bumpus plays a CD release show for All The People tonight at Martyr's