The Actual Mafia are a Kildare based quintuplet comprised of musicians who are familiar to the Irish music scene. A result of a recalibration of The Souliciters, the group seem dedicated to bringing funk to all who will have it. This funk has then been washed, chopped and packaged to create ‘Bullet to the Chakra’, the band’s debut EP.
The construction of the EP sees a mixture of scripted dialogues and cleanly produced tracks. The first track arrives after a scene depicting a mafia hit. Jogging Donkey introduces the musicians and the overdriven guitar riff repeating over a tight bass line sets the bar for the rest of the EP. The vocal performance is energised and is soaked with combining the mafia theme with a strong funk.
What comes apparent quite quickly is the format which the band has locked itself into. The tracks seem to melt into one large mass of sound. The musical performance clearly demonstrates a strong proficiency but what is absent is a sense of musical character and invention. The General follows. The track mixes elements of early Red Hot Chili Peppers but the rap lyrics are clumsy and performed almost hysterically. The tracks seem to regurgitate the styles of the bands influences instead of being used as an inspiration for the bands own individuality.
Funky Sonic is clean and strongly constructed. The saxophone is breathed alongside the track and accompanies the rock riff well with it’s crunchy tone. The texture and long breaths capture the essence of Madness. Street Like Sesame continues to bring the funk. The combination of an energetic verse and a full chorus potentially excite. Alan Foley shows his technical ability on the solo. The melody adds drama and the growing tempo helps elevate the track.
The EP has been well produced and constructed in a pristinely clean fashion. Throughout however, is a strong absence of imagination. The snippets of dialogue between tracks attempt to personalise the work but this imagination is absent when the music starts. The band works well technically, and show their proficiency when required but what seems apparent is what is absent. The attempts to mimic americanisms and exhausted styles suggests an absence of real imaginative thinking. The energies and styles present are however pleasant to experience. Perhaps ‘Bullet to the Chakra’ is a strong base from which the band can only grow.