You can file Geo C and Tha Storm under the funk category, because funk is the main ingredient.
But it’s not the only one.
The Youngstown-based band makes that clearer than ever on its fourth studio release, “Unconditional Funk,” which was released this week. The eight-piece act, now in its 10th year, will celebrate with a record- release party Friday at the Lemon Grove Cafe, 110 W. Federal St., downtown. Four or five of the new songs will be road-tested at the gig.
Geo talked about the new album this week in the back room of the downtown record store that carries his name. Like the band’s music, his shop is eclectic and funky (there’s that word again), a man-cave awash in vinyl records, used and new CDs, comic books and who knows what else.
It’s also a sanctuary that doubles as a practice space for the band.
Geo wrote just about all of the songs on the new 14-track release. Stylistically (and despite its name), “Unconditional Funk” embraces more influences than any of his previous albums. Or maybe the title underscores this point: Funk is a frame of mind that takes everything in, the filter through which his world view is reflected.
The album starts with the simmering groove of “Bobblehead” but then ranges all over the map. There is old-school blues (“Baby”), ’80s pop-funk, hip-hop (“The Game”) nasty Hendrix-esque guitar licks and straight-up folk (“Without Fight”).
One constant, however, is the social conscience that weaves through the lyrics, especially in songs such as “Revolution.”
It’s not a violent revolution that he’s talking about. It’s about Americans taking control of the economic reins by restoring the manufacturing base and thereby reversing the import-export imbalance. Geo calls it “folk music in the style of funk.” The message is one of self-reliance, getting back on track with the grass-roots values that built the country.
Though Geo is no purist when it comes to music — he’s been bending and borrowing genres for years — he definitely is one when it comes to audio quality.
Toward that end, “Unconditional Funk” was recorded at Headroom Studios in Warren with a minimum of audio file compression. “Sound junkies will appreciate it,” he said, noting that the album also will be pressed on vinyl in coming weeks.
A digital version of the album also will be available from online retailers.