Hank And Cupcakes is a wife and husband collaboration located
in Brooklyn. For listeners familiar with the indie guy and chick combination
(often tantalizing the awkward and unanswerable question, "are
those two dating?"), Hank And Cupcakes might seem similar to
bands such as The Kills, The Ting Tings, and Phantogram.
Hank is responsible for playing the only melodic instrument
in the band - bass. Cupcakes' vocals are reminiscent of the
flamboyant Beth Ditto from Gossip; she is sexy, spunky,
and most importantly, funky. Additionally, much like Meg White
of The White Stripes, Cupcakes also submits to drum duty.
Hank And Cupcakes' debut EP, consisting for four tracks, is an introduction
to a new breed of indie-lo-fi funk. The production sounds home grown
yet the EP highlights a musical quality often lost with singer-songwriters
or computer sequenced bands - groove. Hank And Cupcakes manages to
combine superb songwriting with the infectious rhythmic patterns of
early '70s disco and funk, and audience-friendly hooks.
"There Ain't No Love" illustrates this conflation. Alternating
octaves in the bass, inspired by these old school funk breaks, are
the foundation for Cupcakes coos. The layers of bass are evident:
one growls, the other resonates, while the last walks. Near the end
of the track, an un-credited MC takes the mic and raps over the last
verse - an interesting surprise for an EP opener. "Pleasure Town"
is the perfect follow up to "There Ain't No Love." The funk
lingers as Cupcakes begs, "give me back your lovin," over
a wishy-washy bass line. The EP's third track, "Roses",
falls on the softer side. A hushed ballad, embellished by bass harmonics
and tremolo, offers a stage for Cupcakes' confessions, "I can't
always return to the life boat you made me." The final track,
"She's Lost Control," brings the energy back as the EP ends
with a flurry of cymbals and spliced vocal samples.
This EP is cohesive and it is the mastery over pop hooks and the
organics of funk that result in an impressive first release. Hank
And Cupcakes have found their voice early, a voice that will no doubt
rise above the crowd.
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