Jul 4th, 2022
Finland’s best-kept secret Chicken Grass release their long-awaited debut album – the selftitled Chicken Grass.
Chicken Grass has been playing together for 25 years and has developed a unique sound over the years that they call swamp soul. The band gets inspiration from different styles of Afro-American rhythm music: funk, soul, hip hop and jazz. You can hear influences from the roots but also from today’s modern music.
The band consists of some of the best musicians in Finland. The members are: Tapio Wiik (voc, keys), Janne Valppu (bass), Mikko Räisänen (guitar), Olli Tuomainen (sax,flute) and Janne Mathlin (drums). Sensational singer Princess Shaw from New Orleans features on two songs.
The album was recorded live in Philophon Studio in Berlin with Grammy awarded producer Max Weissenfeldt (Poets Of The Rhythm / Dr.John) and sound engineer / producer Stibbo Spitzmuller. The recordings were done with vintage gear, which lends the album a retro yet fresh feeling. Chicken Grass wanted to make an album that sounded like the old classics of the 60s and 70s, which meant recording it live without any loops or samples. No “fakin the funk”!
Two album tracks were first released by Tramp Records as a 45 in 2021: “Snakebites feat. Princess Shaw” / “Trading Bullets” got a lot of positive feedback from music lovers all around the world. Radio shows like the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show on BBC Radio 6 Music have supported the single.
Each song in the album is unique and stands on its own. You can hear the whole spectrum of funk and soul in the album. There are vibes from James Brown and Jimmy Castor Bunch (“Have A Break”), Curtis Mayfield-style gospel soul (“Sister Rosetta’s Train”), P-Funk inspired modern funk (“Woman”), Blue-Eyed Soul (“Street Haze”), Isaac Hayes and psychedelic soul (“Right Face”), Dubby Blues (“Jailbird”) and African disco-funk (“Pyroclastic”). The band also focused on the quality of the lyrics.
All in all, the album is a perfect combination of styles and genres, old and new, hi-fi and lo-fi, but the sound is still unique Chicken Grass. The more you listen to the album, the more it grows on you. You can hear the depth of the songs and the experience of the band with each playthrough.