The Cactus Channel : Haptics
For a young group of cats, it could be considered somewhat unusual that The Cactus Channel from Melbourne make music that seemingly belongs in decades well before they were born. Immediately it’s clear this ten-piece means business. Their music has been accurately described as 'car-chase funk' and the album opener Emanuel Ciccolini certainly backs this description up nicely.
In fact, the opening three tracks all whip you up into a frenzy of finger snapping grooviness. It’s not until Budokan that things slow down to an almost reggae tempo. Augustus Pablo and Booker T & The MG’s spring to mind.
Things get slightly psychedelic on Tom Has Ideas as the saxophone bleeds through some trippy organ chords. You could be excused for feeling you are being transported to another time, another place, and involuntarily ingesting some hallucinogens to help with the journey.
During Boss Cat the horn jam that comes in at around the three minute mark sounds like it is about to drop into the Rocky theme. That’s the whole point – it’s potentially movie soundtrack music and it’s timeless. On Under The Birdcage, think of The Doors circa LA Woman with its structure and progression. The organ sound and production on this track have something to do with that. The track ends with a lonely spaghetti western guitar strum which stands out.
Hot Teeth, the album closer is a 12-minute epic that bolts out of the gate but slowly winds to a crawl of vibes, saxophone, bass and staggered drums. There’s nothing really new going on here with Haptics, but something plainly obvious is that The Cactus Channel are incredibly talented and competent musicians. They have also managed to truly pay homage to an era and genre of music with a tight album that would stack up alongside the innovators, or close to them.
BY SCOTT NICOLSON
Best Track: Tom Has Ideas
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: THE DAP KINGS, BOOKER T & THE MG’S, THE JB’S (JAMES BROWN)
In A Word: Kapoww!