Funk masters Lettuce have released their latest work Resonate on all digital streaming platforms. The eleven-track album includes special guest appearances, an astounding cover, and extension tracks from their Grammy-nominated album.
Lettuce released their seventh studio album, Resonate through Round Hill Records. After their European tour was cut short, they returned back to the United States and decided to release the eleven-track album they had been working on. It includes new material, tracks they had recorded during the sessions they did for Elevate, and songs they have been playing for years during their live shows. Each of these tracks has influences from different genres, including jazz, psychedelic rock, electronica, hip hop, and many more. Resonate has the band’s distinguishable funk sound throughout, but plays off of many subgenres.
The Boston-based sextet has been making music together for almost three decades, which is definitely evident within the skill and cohesion they demonstrate on each album. Each of the band’s members being world-class musicians, they complement one another throughout. Ryan Zoidis’ rich-sounding sax and synth play off of Eric “Benny” Bloom’s colourful trumpet during the horn sections, while Erick “Jesus” Coomes’ bass and Adam Deitch’s drumming provide a solid ground for the group. Filling out some sound on keys, as well as offering his smooth voice is Nigel Hall. Finally, adding a little of Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff funk-filled guitar to the mix gives the band their well-known sound. Lettuce have claimed that Resonate is an extension of their last album, Elevate, stating that ‘we see this album as kind of a continuation of our last album. We recorded 30-odd tracks for the last one and part of them became Elevate. Now the rest became Resonate, and the names are similar because we see both records as part of a series.‘
Notable tracks on the album are “Checker Wrecker”, featuring Tyrone “Jungle Boogie” Williams and Trouble Funk bassist/vocalist Big Tony Fisher, “Remember the Children” (a remarkable cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1972 hit), “NDUGU”, a tribute to famous drummer Ndugu Chanceler, and “Moksha”, which includes award-winning satirist Indrajit Banerjee. The rest of the album includes funk tracks similar to those on their 2019 Grammy-nominated album Elevate.
“Checker Wrecker” is a funky go-go track accompanied by an authentic music video. It was the first single from this album, released in mid-February. The music video that followed in March has behind-the-scene shots from a show in DC, along with video footage of the band recording it. With special guests Williams and Fisher on the bongos and vocals, respectively, the track is inspired by classic DC go-go, where the featured guests brought this style of music to life. The song is fun and laid-back, with a catchy horn section.
“Remember the Children” is a true funk tribute to the classic song from almost 50 years ago. Lettuce perform a seamless cover, putting their own spin on the tune throughout. This cover gives the original song new life by making it a little brighter in tone and giving it more energy. The song is one of the few that Hall sings on, which is a treat for sure. Not straying too far away from Maurice White’s soulful voice, he does a great job of adding his own flair using his powerful vocals. Lettuce did not disappoint with their close replica of Earth, Wind & Fire‘s classic song.
One of my favourite tracks is “Blaze”, the album’s opener. They have been playing this one live for quite a few years and finally decided to record and release it. It starts off with a catchy guitar riff and builds up with an organ and horns. The song does an excellent job at opening Resonate, setting the tone for the album’s duration. In between two tasteful key changes around the middle of the track, the band lets up and allows for a few drum and horn solos. “Blaze” is a jazzy funk bop that lets each member show what they’re made of.
The album comes to a close with the title track “Resonate”, which extends just over eight minutes. It has great momentum going throughout, and feels quite free. The track wraps up the album nicely and leaves the listener feeling content and satisfied. Like the rest of Resonate, it flows with ease. Lettuce have delivered a great follow-up after their successful last album, once again proving their worth within each genre. From world-renowned featured guests to impeccable tributes, this album has it all. Coming up on three decades of great music, this band continues to create unique and colourful albums, with Resonate being no exception.