Following the release of a successful debut recording and two years of rigorous touring around Scotland’s best venues, Edinburgh’s Kung Fu Academy, returns to the fore with the dazzling Super 8 Flashback EP.
A natural continuation from their commercially and critically acclaimed Dirty Honey EP, the six-track record, released via Whimsical Records, sees the quartet of Bobby Osborne (vocals/guitar), Laurence Murray (guitar), Duncan Robertson (bass) and Fraser De Banzie (drums) combine infectious funk rhythms with lush harmonies, captivating pop hooks and rollicking classic rock riffs. Produced and engineered by the band, and mixed and mastered by Fentek Audio’s Alex Fenton at Swanfield Studios, Super 8 Flashback boasts a clean, crisp, and full-bodied vintage sound that rekindles a now-bygone golden era of DIY guitar-music.
There are not many bands out there in the music scene like the Kung Fu Academy; a pop group that can show it’s musical diversity with different styles, and do it flawlessly, seamlessly, and with a lot of class, soul and conviction. They combine soul, funk, pop, and rock in a sort of 60’s and 70’s retro revival.
The work done here is quite remarkable! Each song uniquely captures a certain aura, a presence that fills the air with an intense deep feeling. The album is captivating, inspirational, relaxing, bitter-sweet, and uplifting, danceable, deeply honest, intelligent, and has just about every sound era in it!
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Straight off from the title track, Super 8 Flashback, prepares you for the rollercoaster musical voyage Kung Fu Academy have in store. We then move on to Sally. Whether to set the night on fire or just totally disorientate your listening senses, Sally dodges between soul-ska verses and Saturday-Night-Fever-styled disco choruses, before sliding into one of the better tracks on the Ep, The Long Fall. A straight and fiery alternative rock tune, that hurtles along like a runaway train. At this point we’re in the best part of the Ep, as the triad of songs that follow: “Junction,” “Warpaint” and “You’re Such A Flame,” demonstrates the absolute qualities of this Edinburgh group.
Unlike many of their contemporaries, who offer up a cliched catalog of gimmicks to make their music sound ferociously intense, Kung Fu Academy rely on the old-fashioned method of engaging their instruments and working their vocal chords to the maximum. From the first thundering crescendo of the opening bars, the Ep stomps, pounds, roils and flays. The band’s amazing rhythm section remains in exhilarating lockstep throughout the album, while the two guitars do likewise. The embellishing riffs and solos derived from their playing, brilliantly serve to elevate the powerful vocals and showcase the lyrics on Super 8 Flashback.
Super 8 Flashback is a solid representation of the band. The songwriting, musicianship, and unique style all come together in this chef-d’oeuvre. Kung Fu Academy delivers the goods with sophistication and focused power. Give this band a try if you’re a fan of innovative riffs and rhythms, heartfelt songs and a great big wall of bass and drums.
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