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Madboy/Mink - All Ball


album Reviews Apr 15, 02:16pm

A review of All Ball, the new EP by Mumbai electro-disco-funk duo Madboy/Mink.

If I were a funk-disco duo, I wouldn’t call a song ‘Pimp the Disco’ (if I were a funk-disco duo, I wouldn’t call a song ‘Funkenstein’ and etcetera). But that’s just me. Minor literary concerns with song titles and lyrics about how “the groove goes on and on and on and on” on one side, Madboy/Mink’s debut five-song EP, called All Ball, is what one might call wonky (in a purely descriptive sense, not a qualitative or judgemental one). The Bombay duo has aimed high, with just a whole lot of things happening – disco, funk, swing, cabaret, and what not – with passages of restraint few and far between. But when they do arrive – relatively in the context of this release – such as the latter half of ‘Pimp the Disco’, where the massive bass line is allowed to fester before chunky melodies and a bright vocal thing heightens the mood, they leave an impact. The in-your-face style of singing on All Ball takes its time to register on the listener, but it’s a distinct approach that evidently resists the temptation to merely showcase vocal chops, instead staying true to the vibe of the songs (if you do like the vibe they’ve tried to present) and, in some way or another, adding value to the music. That early maturity does come with a qualifier though, as the over-the-top nature of not just the singing but Madboy/Mink’s music in general can often lend a too-many-cooks feel to proceedings (even if there’s just the two of them). There’s a definite lack of space; things often get too stuffy, too claustrophobic for this writer’s liking.

What Madboy/Mink do here is use familiar motifs of music, with a noticeably upbeat disposition, and add their sparks of individuality to it. The songs often almost sound like they’ve been heard before, but not quite. The use of guitars – funky strums, smooth jazzy notes picked on an acoustic guitar, bouncy riffs with shaky bends, and more – serve as bookmarks to the assault of electronic sounds, justifying their existence as a means to break the tedium that often creeps in. From a subjective POV, this writer is unable to connect with the music on All Ball. Three light beers down, maybe even two, I might be able to internalise the music and appreciate it for what it stands for. Maybe standing next to a speaker thundering glass-shattering bass sounds, I might enjoy the music and even shake a leg or two. Improbable, but possible nonetheless. And that’s all speculation anyway. In a nutshell, the music seems to not leave that lasting an impact when heard in solitary confinement. That’s not to say that it’s been written only for the express purpose of making people dance to it, but it does seem to have that community energy to it, the kind of energy you seek through people and the kind of energy that feeds off of other people and grows as the night progresses. There are flashes of craftiness in arrangement and the way the songs are structured, but the overarching vibe is that of sound-driven EDM with a strong allegiance to disco and a mishmash of other sounds. It’s potentially a pretty solid release if you like the kind of music; this writer doesn’t, but that’s not to say it’s crap, just that it’s maybe not for everyone.   


Stream All Ball by Madboy/Mink below:

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