Playful psychedelic funk band the Pimps of Joytime came out of Williamsburg in the late zeros. Their home base back in the day was the Lucky Cat, the Grand Street sweatbox that became Bruar Falls for a couple of years and is now a Chinese junk shop – real estate bubble-era New York in reverse. They’ve got a new album, Jukestone Paradise, streaming at Soundcloud and a US tour that kicks off tonight, April 10 at around 9 at Brooklyn Bowl. Cover is $15.
Where there are a gazillion funk bands out there who ape other styles from the past fifty years, what sets the Pimps of Joytime apart is that they write original songs that draw inspiration from all sorts of unexpected places and mash them up without sounding derivative. For example, the album’s opening track has a southern-baked guitar rock feel that gives way to a lush, anthemic chorus with synth and an exuberant choir of vocals from singers Mayteana Morales and Cole Williams. The second number kicks off with an oldschool 70s disco groove, but with blippy synth bass and vocals until it hits a big, vintage Kool & the Gang-style chorus, the fuzz from the synth bass pushing it along like a wave of foam from an overexcited firehose.
Waiting for My Ride – a story anybody can relate to – hints at Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean, with its 80s disco-funk style. By contrast, Heart Is Wild has an early EWF/Parliament hard funk flavor…but then the band does the time warp with an echoey, shreddy stoner guitar interlude. They go to a similar blueprint later on with Dank Janky, but with an even heavier stoner organ-and-guitar section toward the end.
Sky is a rousingly successful blend of 70s Three Degrees girl-group soul and more recent psychedelic sounds, with an unexpectedly Beatlesque outro. With Cut Off, the band takes anthemic Rare Earth and updates it for the teens, then follows that with The Jump, the trippiest thing here, mashing up delta blues, dub and video game soundtrack action. Then they flip the script again with the album’s most straightforward joint, Body Party, a catchy late 70s Pointer Sisters style hit.
The album winds up with a characteristically shapeshifting mini-epic, moving from Isley Brothers-style organ-and-guitar funk to a lickety-split doublespeed interlude, then a dip into dub reggae and finally a soulful brass fanfare. On one level, this is party music that’s made for dancing. On another, this is also a good high-energy headphone album – it’ll pick you up after a rough day at school or the dayjob.