Reviewing opens up my musical listening repertoire and broadens my horizons beyond imagination. Funk is not a genre I’ve really listened to, but, I’m not opposed to anything, afterall, variety is the spice of life so they say. So, step forward Sebastian, and his new album “Dance Til We Die”. This multi skilled Funk singer from Birmingham is a self taught musician who plays guitar, bass and keyboards, and writes and produces his original material. Opening track “Champagne Freakshow” is straight in there with its nod to the artists influence of Prince, and instantly gives me vibes of “When Doves Cry” , which offers up a familiar feeling and eases you into the tune before the vocals take the Mic inviting us to gather round and welcomes us to the freak show. A retro fuelled 4 minute track which certainly has the power to get you grooving out the on the dancefloor. The levels and skills of the electro pop music with lead you to believe this is a whole band, rather than a solo artist. Impressive stuff, indeed. Title track “Dance Til We Die” really ramps up the groove factor, and brings out a deeper vocal, still with that undeniable 80s feel, maybe more of a Duran Duran feel, especially as the song ends and the musical interlude kicks in, think “Wild Boys”, with a gritty edge and a highly impressive guitar solo.
The album as a whole is a true reflection of Sebastians own musical tastes, a labour of love to produce an album of music he’d buy himself. A self confessed control freak, the whole album, including the mixing and artwork, have been done by himself. That is no mean feat when you listen to the complexity of the album as a whole. Proof indeed that if you want something doing, do it yourself. “XposeUrself2Me” is a sultry little number, encouraging you to follow your heart, let go and dance to the beat, in a tune where the keyboard takes the spotlight in the mid section before the guitar once again shines. Sebastians main emphasis is to have fun in life and be yourself, he sees music as an escape and that is easy to hear as track after track, a little piece of him is left drifting in the air. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is another candidate for wild abandon on the dance floor, before we are treated to the albums first slower track, in the form of “Made 4 Me”. A undeniable love song, written about his girlfriend, a story of being found, saved and ultimately surrendering his heart to the love of his life. Powerful ballad riffs conjures images of black and white videos favoured in the 80s when conveying the power of love. “Free Yo Mind” is back to the synth sound that’ll get you wanting to move and groove, just hang loose. “Love 4 U” throws up a slightly different sound, again to me, Duran Duran comes to mind, more of a lyrical classic, again professing a desire to show someone how much love he has. Almost a reggae pop feel, a nice little bit of variety thrown into this already eclectic mix of songs. “Lets Jam” sounds like exactly what it says, a collection of instruments that really bring the quality and talent of this individual, with deep down and dirty wild abandon. “Walk My Way” is another surprise in the collection, where we are taken on a walk on the bluesy wild side, smoky bar vibes, a shuffle of music to be played in a cool late lounge, clicking fingers and drinking champagne. The Prince influence comes crashing back with Adore U , a song that makes me think of “Pretty Woman”, with the lyric “she was pretty, he was rich”, Sebastian truly loves to rock the guitar, and rightly so. “Get Wild” is the finale track, to tie up the whole album, it’s rare to hear an album just fully dedicated to good times. Not a hint of heartache or controversy, just fun and frolicks, it’s hard not to let loose and just enjoy this one.
After the first play, the album instantly throws you back to a time where things seemed easier, after a second play, you really start to appreciate the work one man has done to produce such a work of lyrical and musical art. The level of detail stitched into each track is ambitious, but achieved with success. I’m not one to shun any musical genre from my listening list, but I must admit, funk of this kind was not one that appeared often on my play list. However, I can’t deny the feel good vibes, and endlessly playable nature of “Dance Til We Die”. In fact, it’s ever so slightly addictive!
By: Kate Ford