By Max Stewart

The Wyoming funk-masters, Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons’ latest album Liftoff has certainly catapulted the band into a new realm within the funk universe. The record builds upon the band’s signature ‘Mountain Funk’ sound, prominently featuring jams and horn parts that do not intend to blow your head off at every turn, but instead elevate in time to monumental sonic summits. The band effortlessly hits the peaks and valleys throughout the new record, knowing when to let the groove build and when to let it fly down the mountain.

The interweaving guitar (Jack Tolan) and keys (Galen Karnatz) on opener “Clown Shoes” set the tone for the album, letting the jams catch their breath in the high altitudes, not filling the spaces with unnecessary notes but instead letting every melody and arrangement serve the song. The downtempo and groovy tune “B.Ä.S.” has a touch of Steely Dan, “20 Below” and “Liftoff Suite” are littered with New Orleans brass fundamentals, and “Party Moon” has a groove that sounds like if Sly Stone sat in with Queens of the Stone Age (would that be called Queens of the Sly Stone Age? If only…)

Copy of Liftoff Album ArtTolan reflected on the making of the album and even looked ahead to the next record: “Recording Liftoff was hands down the most fun we’ve had in the studio to date. With song credits from all five members, Liftoff is our most collaborative and detail-oriented effort thus far. The maturity of the songs reflect a breakthrough gelling as a unit as well as everyone’s individual growth both musically and compositionally. The experience of recording Liftoff renewed the band’s focus in creating original music and has catalyzed an effort to amass the material needed to dive into recording a fourth studio album. Because what is skiing and dancing without a fresh soundtrack to accompany them?”

The build-it-up ethos of this album is very evident on one of the album’s strongest songs, “Zig Zag (I Like To Dance, I Like to Ski),” which slowly rises thanks to brass-man Bobby Griffith before it takes off with a fun-loving vocal homage to, you guessed it, dancing and skiing in a manner that feels like vintage Phish. The band’s tight rhythm section is at the forefront of the band’s latest release, as New Orleans native Phil Walker (Drums) holds the band firmly within the pocket with Sam Lowenthal (Bass) on tunes like “Liftoff Suite” and “See Ya in 5.”

PressShot3Walker also looked back on the recording of Liftoff: “Over the past couple years, we’d been reworking old tunes, writing new ones, and reached a point where we really thought things were taking off, or ‘lifting off’ you might say. So we decided it was time to lay these tracks down on an album. A lot of the music relates to our mountain life. Lyrically, some songs are more light-hearted in nature, others have a more serious tone, but we tried to keep everything groove-oriented overall, because we like to dance…and ski.”

Overall, Liftoff has skyrocketed the band into the funkiest corner of the galaxy, where the the space between interplanetary jams keep the listeners supremely satisfied.

The album was just featured at #15 in Relix / Jamband.com’s radio chart, so the country is taking note of Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons excellent new release! Check out the band’s new record here: https://fanlink.to/Liftoff


2018 Tour Dates:
5/19 – Stanley, ID – Idaho River Rendesvous
6/01 – Bozeman, MT – The Filling Station
6/15 – Crouch, ID – North Fork Championship
6/16 – McCall, ID – Forrester’s Club
6/23 – Carbondale, CO – Private Event
6/28 – Denver, CO – Mile High Spirits
7/01 – Golden, CO – Private Event
7/14 – Alta, WY – Targhee Fest (late night)
7/20 – Greybull, WY – Antelope Butte Festival
7/26 – Lander, WY – Lander Live (w/The Main Squeeze)
7/28 – Centennial, WY – What Fest

Written by Mitchell

I like to rock and roll.

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