Guerilla Toss – Famously Alive: 13th Floor Album Review

Guerilla Toss fashion their style of Funk’n’Dance Pop into a breakout album Famously Alive, which they will be hoping for with new label Sub Pop Records. Written and worked into shape over the last two years of the heavy spirit of contagion, which they do remarkably well in lifting the curse.

The core trio came from Boston, a city with a long and ongoing history of nurturing the best of American music. Kassie Carlson sang for a Hardcore Punk band before coming together with Peter Negroponte drums and Arian Shafiee guitar to launch Guerilla in 2012. Completing the band is Stephe Cooper bass and Sam Lisbeth keyboards.

Cannibal Capitalism and the song begins with primitivist African percussion spontaneously coalescing into a Disco beat. The keyboards and synths eventually break open like a cloudburst. The Afro-Disco of Nigerian Ju-Ju music continues to bubble through it. You need help… no one else feels/ Happiness broken.

They capture the dread at the beginning of the decade and look to shake it out with some voodoo.

Segues straight into Famously Alive with the electronic instruments. Stay famous/ Famous in your mind/ Famous all the time.

Live Exponential slows down the momentum. The music is a dense pressure pulse which counterpoints with a high, sparkling vocal. I’m just a memory waiting to be/ Am I free?

The band has a reputation for being an intense onstage experience where they can stretch out and jam. Admirers of Grateful Dead, they have a psychedelic to hallucinogenic visceral element. They are magpies and they pick from everywhere.

Wild Fantasy is introduced by Baroque keyboards. Followed immediately by marshalling drum rhythms. The roots of Funk and the James Brown engine room of the late Sixties. Overlaid with synth dance grooves of the likes of Human League and Prince also, who was the arch-magpie. Compare this to Around the World in a Day.

Guerilla Toss

Not surprising then to hear the influence of George Clinton on a straight-ahead Funk Pop tune like I Got Spirit.

Paired with Happy Me. Each day a celebration sung through a vocoder. Then the Mothership rises up and lays out sound in radiation waves. The Light and the Heavy.

Pyramid Humm has melodic hooks which rise above the meshed ocean of sound. Carlson sings high and sweet. Slows the tempo at the bridge with a heartbeat rhythm before charging off again. Sounding the closest to the Sixties female Pop voice.

Carlson has said she took some singing instruction over the course of the album and felt some Kate Bush inspiration. On Excitable Girls she sounds closer Kate Pierson of the B52’s. This could be their 52 Girls put through some warping time shifts to sound quirky with the Funk turned up. The song accentuates the weird.

Guerilla Toss roll out the big baroque sound to close with Heathen In Me. Prog Rockers at heart as well. They are based in New York City currently, but they did come from Boston.

Rev Orange Peel