Matches and American Planes, the debut album from New Orleans band Gravy Flavored Kisses, is a fast-paced, upbeat mashup of funk and heavy alternative. We’d like to propose the name “aggressive crunch funk” for the genre. The album is set to release on November 20th.
Matches and American Planes’ most notable trait was its dynamic brass section. The band features two flugelhorns, two trombones and a trumpet. Each song was punctuated with snappy brass duets and soaring trumpet solos. At times the cacophony of brass was a bit hectic, but overall it improved the quality of the album immensely.
The band features two vocalists, Jared Castellaw and Meryl Zimmerman. Jared’s vocals were subpar; he seemed to be trying way too hard to emulate a hard-rock persona and his vocals were full of exaggerated Steven Tyler-esque squeaking.
Meryl was the clear star of the show. Her crisp and powerful voice achieved more of a blues diva persona which melded nicely with the band’s instrumental style.
The highlight of the album was track 2, “Arraya,” a funky indie rock jam reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys. The song was a well-executed blend of upbeat guitar riffs and slow jazzy melodies, and both Meryl and Jared’s vocals were at their peak.
Also notable were “Karnival Barbados,” which opened the album with a punch, and “Art (For #@?# Sake)” (remarkable mostly because of its title).
“Maps and Messages,” was a nearly 12-minute song which featured a hidden track. The song cast a very strange balance between peppy and sinister, which left this listener feeling slightly uncomfortable.
Despite Gravy Flavored Kisses’ unique approach, we found the album to be overall decent but unremarkable. The lyrics were passable, and the musicians seemed technically talented but weren’t standout artists.
That said, the album was interesting to listen to just because of the fact that it doesn’t quite fit into any traditional genre.
If you’re interested in a highkey listening experience that’s slightly off the beaten path, Matches and American Planes is for you. Despite the fact we weren’t blown away by many of the tracks, we recognize Gravy Flavored Kisses as a talented band which may see more success in the future.