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Zen Bunny Collective - Funky America 9/38 (self-released)

26 February 2024

Several things stand out as the bluesy grooves of “Funky America 9/38” reach out and lull and lure me in with their mellifluous tones. The first is that, given the bands chosen name, Zen Bunny Collective make music much more poised and poignant than such an outlandish moniker might suggest.

The second is that whilst people are more than happy to create music that seems to advocate one political point of view or another, “Funky America 9/38” seems to say, hang the lot of them. Not in a Capitol Hill Riots/Mike Pence sort of way, but certainly in a way that suggests that the people behind this song have had enough of being told what to do by the powers that be. Especially given how the powers that be act these days.

And if I were to pick a third, and lists always work best when they come in threes, it is that when you read through the bands back story, you realise that you will never really get to the truth of who they are. Their self-penned mythology takes in the May ’68 Paris riots, Sumerian texts (by way of Latin translations), 14 tungsten and ceramic sculptures of Rhenish Warmblood rabbits in various states of repose, a mosh pit, two bulldozers, a tedious lecture on Balsamic Vinegar, and a Piccolo. I have no idea what to make of all that but it does all sound as if it could have sprouted from the furtive and fecund imagination of Douglas Adams, and that is something I wholly approve of.

Better just stick to the music, I guess. And why not? The music is excellent. It is a slinky, seductive blues number that snakes and coils towards the listener, speaking truth, or at least dissatisfaction, to power, totally non-partisan, questioning everything, saying what many of us feel but doing it in the most relaxed ways.

“Funky America 9/38” is evidence that you don’t have to rant and rave about the things you don’t like; a smart and articulate song as a mark of disapproval is much more powerful a tool than the next ten incendiary and over-excited punk bands talking about smashing the system. There’s no point getting too worked about such things; it’s only the stuff of life and death, after all!