For a moment, it seems like the Funk Ark is reverting back to old tricks. “Fuege State,” the second track from Man Is a Monster, begins like most of the band’s music—with a worldly rhythm of stacked percussion and looping guitars, evoking sandy celebrations on some faraway island. Then suddenly, there’s a wave of electric current and crashing drum cymbals.
This ain’t the Afrobeat you’re used to hearing from them.
This ain’t the same ol’ Funk Ark.
Not that the old way was anything to sleep through. The Funk Ark crafted sustainable grooves on 2011’s From the Rooftops and 2012’s High Noon, yet it felt the band hadn’t tapped into a complete sound. Sure, those albums could soundtrack your party, but they didn’t tell robust stories. Perhaps on purpose, Man Is a Monster carries a heavier resonance. Even tracks like “Bouzouki Song” and “Headband,” which resemble the group’s typical aesthetic, feels more abundant and layered. “Fuege State pt. 2,” with its creeping guitar riff, isn’t foreign at all; instead, it’s overtly nocturnal and menacing.
Recorded over two years, Monster is a result of bandleader Will Rast‘s international travels. “The songs were conceived in that spirit of exploration, in a global sense, but also of our musical and technical abilities,” Rast says on the Funk Ark’s Bandcamp page.
As a result, Monster is a far deeper listen that floats by in a sea of Latin, African, and rock influences. Stream the full album below.