Since I wrote my first piece for IC back in June, I’ve been anxiously awaiting following it up with a Seattle sequel. I was introduced to the band I’ve been itching to feature while living there, and I was fortunate enough to see the band perform on three separate occasions before my summer tenure ended. After their live performances proved to be addictive, I knew that their upcoming album was bound to provide its own share of “motion” activating groovability.
The band is Hot Bodies in Motion, and their debut EP Old Habits should satisfy anyone with an unstoppable funk rock fetish as well as anyone who fears that Seattle might ever lose its touch at producing the sort of quality musicians that everyone expects from them. (Don’t worry, the answer to that query is “No, they won’t.”) Fear not, indie music devotees: HBIM (as they’re affectionately called by their loyal fans) delivers the kind of groove-infused magnetism that most record labels can only dream of getting their hands on this early in a band’s career.
HBIM features Ben Carson as its lead vocalist, who manages the band’s infectious sound with his one-of-a-kind, soulful, blues-influenced voice and guitar. While Tim LoPresto provides the heart-throbbing beat that drives the band’s rhythmic pulse, Zach Fleury brings out the bass groove in full force to round out the low end. That leaves Scott Johnson free to wail out the spine-tingling guitar riffs that keep people coming back for more. Did I mention that Scott builds his own guitars by hand? An all-star cast, without a doubt.
Their self-described “baby-making mammal funk” is palpable from the beginning. The album’s title track “Old Habits” works its way into your head with the help of some haunting harmonies. A heavy kick drum introduces the full band jam that carries the tune’s powerfully crafted lyrics and drives Carson’s soulful melody. The following track, “Physics,” continues this pattern of funk rock perfection, while highlighting Johnson’s flawless guitar riffs throughout and introducing more of the blues style that weaves its way into these tunes and makes it the kind of music you can’t get enough of.
My personal favorite from the band’s live performances was the heavy blues tune “Gout,” which appears as the album’s third track. It provides the listener with a hunger in the lyrics that the groove works to satisfy. The following track, “Whiskey Drive,” brings the tempo down a few notches. It features a bass groove that perfects the steamy ambiance created by the smooth guitar, and the vocal melodies are sexy in all the ways the blues should be.
The band moves away from the intensity of its first four tracks with the gentle acoustic love song, “15-8.” This simple but charming tune contributes to the album’s overall showcase of talent and demonstrates the band’s ability to perform a diverse blend of music while making each style its own.
The band’s familiar funky blues blend returns on the album’s sixth track, “Pleasure Buffet,” which proves to be appropriately titled. It provides a buffet of instrumental solos that could singlehandedly convince me to buy six more copies of the album. Just when you are sure that HBIM has exhausted their creativity and balance, the band closes the album with “Wanchu.” A song with an experimental sound complete with auto-tuned vocals and funky electric jams, it leaves no doubt that this band knows how to bring the party.
Whether you’re tapping your foot or swinging your hips, this is an album that won’t fail to put your body in motion.