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  Kava Kava  
  Chocolate Fireguard  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  

Yorkshire, England is known for all sorts of things, with opinions, cricket, and opinionated cricketers being just a few of them. But one thing it's not known for, as far as I'm aware, is funk bands. So it's something of a surprise to read that Kava Kava hail from Huddersfield in that very county, because this album is seriously funky. Not "psychedelically funky" as their promotional blurb would have you believe, just f-u-n-k-y!!

Maui opens, however, with a short intro that is something of a misleading signpost. A heavy throbbing noise leads you to think that this is going to go in some borderline unlistenable direction before we really get down to business with Don't Stop The Music, a track with a real 70s disco feel and a scatter gun beat, and which pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album. Space People follows and is another strong track with the singer, Pat Fulgani, bellowing "I feel your funky symphony" over a meaty bass riff. It's uplifting stuff.

Terrorists, with its Eurythmics-like intro and more political tone, doesn't work quite so well for me since the lyrics jar, but Sicfuck is much better, with Fulgani sounding like Bill Withers fronting the Stereo MC's. Things get even better with title-track Maui, which opens well with a delicate string sound before the rest of the period join in for what is an altogether less frantic number that benefits from some nice shimmering guitar. It's got a good bass riff, too, and is a definite contender of the best track of the album.

Bankjob isn't totally memorable, but Funked Up Freaked Out (which apparently got the band a number one slot in the NME Club Guide Chart) is a goodie, with its punchy beat and a riff that sounds like Keith Richard gone disco. Beats For Cheats has a Shaft-like feel to it with its tasty high-range string section over a wah-wah guitar and funky (sorry, there's no other word for it!) beat. TIC follows and is another where Fulgani sounds like Bill Withers, with the track bringing to mind something off his excellent early 'Justments album.

The album peters out somewhat with NFA and Faith though, the latter being more throbbing noises in the vein of the intro, which I guess leads me to my main criticism of Maui at around 70 minutes it's waaaayyy too long. I can think of very few people I want to listen to albums of that length by, and that includes my favorite artists. So whilst I haven't got a problem with the length of the tracks they definitely benefit from being given time to breathe I definitely think Maui would be a better album if they'd trimmed 4-5 numbers (like Terrorists and Bankjob for example) off it.

At the risk of sounding morbid, we've only got a limited amount of time on this planet, you know!

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