PopCult features Tanya Sen on Vocals, John Paul on Guitars Mainak Nag Chowdhury on Bass Gaurab Chatterjee on Drums and Dominic Saldanha on Keys. Together they incorporate an absolute deluge of influences, ranging from jazz to funk to dance, neo-soul and unparalleled sonic elasticity, which they manage to keep tight as hell. Still, PopCult can basically be summed up in one word: groove. The 5-piece unit, who also features percussionist Saurav Chatterjee, have a rhythmic relentlessness to their sound. The performances on their debut single and video, “C Funk”, exemplifies this perfectly – an exercise in searing instrumental sections, sharp staccato hits, and soaring vocals, all above a tight grooving beat.
The track shows off an immaculately evolved arrangement. PopCult takes their musical virtuosity and melts it into a track that’s groovier than the 60s, funkier than the 70s and smoother than the 80s. It also has an addictive guitar line that’s so catchy it practically chases the beat.
Throughout “C Funk”, PopCult stun with their dynamic shapes. Tight, precise and pulsating, the song starts out with moderately intense percussion and interplay between the rhythm section, the bass, and the creamy keys that rises to the top of the arrangement with its magical shimmer, before showcasing its swaggering guitar lines, and then steadily adding the mellifluous vocal flourishes which captivate instantly.
This kind of dynamic playing is breathtaking and sadly missing in much of today’s contemporary music, and shows how musically mature PopCult’s arranging is. There are very few groups these days making good music like this. There are none making it as good as PopCult.
Few possess the dexterity to compose a song of this caliber and make it sound effortless. All the elements fit together neatly for an easy listen on “C Funk”. The design of this track is such that the listener is able to visualize the band’s instrumentation very clearly and soak in the experience completely.
“C Funk” is a journey in itself, and the confluence of the rhythm section, keyboard and guitar, pronounce a beautiful, soothing melody which Tanya Sen carries perfectly. A funky bassline supports the song throughout, emanating a mature jazz effect. The interludes, over and above the mesmerizing guitar hook, feature rich vocal harmonies, as the song builds and grows, enhancing its melodic and rhythmic motifs.
“C Funk” is a powerful demonstration of interwoven guitar and bass patterns, where one instrument will perform their nuances before coming together as a formidable force. What’s most impressive about this record is the seamless blend of genres.
The chords and progressions are undeniably jazz influenced, Tanya’s vocals are of a classic neo-soul variety, while the rhythm keeps the funk and dance quotient high, and the hooks are dying to create a pop single. “C Funk” finds PopCult sure-footed on their artistic path, staking a claim on the modern musical agenda, firmly, joyfully, and righteously.
On this single there are no modern cheat tactics in sight – just pure, wholesome, musical flair. What more could you ask for in an industry where music is so often machine-manufactured. Though unfortunately the jazz, funk and neo-soul hype has long been waning rapidly, if anyone can change that it will no doubt be PopCult.