By Martine Ehrenclou
Modern funk-rock power trio Captain Danger takes off with its debut EP, Love Sweet Love, out March 26th via Chemical Music.
Based in L.A., this fresh, innovative band boasts catchy guitar and bass hooks, killer drumming, smooth and often dynamic vocals, and grooves so good you’ll put play on repeat. This is contemporary funk-rock at its finest with original lyrics that speak to the times we are living in, dosed with a fine sheen of humor. With shades of Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, The Meters and The Police with a modern twist, Love Sweet Love by Captain Danger features themes of social isolation, truth-telling about Los Angeles, with an undercurrent of hope and joy.
The musicianship is superb, which propelled me to the band members’ bios. They have impressive resumes and aren’t new to the music game. Guitarist/vocalist Aaron Steinberg works as a soundtrack and theme composer (Bill Nye, Howard Stern, Disney/ESPN and more.) He has also created music for major TV networks and is an in-demand session player. Bass player Keith “E-Day” Eaddy played with funk and soul luminaries such as Macy Gray, Dam-Funk, Jody Watley, Stevie Wonder, Musiq Soulchild, Melissa Etheridge, Angie Stone, and more. Drummer, Roger “Joose” Benford is known for his work with SiR, Patrick Paige and Shafiq Husayn.
Sometimes when you get musicians like these out of the major league TV/movie studios, the technical prowess is ever present but the soulfulness suffers. That is not the case with Captain Danger. Their music is vivid with soulfulness and personality, with an almost in-your face presence.
Right from the first slap of funky bass and the “Oh hello” on opening number “Come On Come Along,” I was hooked. This is one tight trio. The guitar and bass hook is so catchy, I turned it up and listened a few times, just to hear how well they fit together. Seriously, funk-rock doesn’t get much better than this. Steinberg’s vocal is smooth, expressive and alive, leaning into a growl. You can hear that he’s in it with Eaddy and Benford—experienced musicians with soul and fighting spirit. The guitar solo caught my ear—crunchy, funky and divine. Steinberg scats over guitar riffs, adding his unique touch.
More catchy tunes continue on Love Sweet Love with “Holly.” This one has Steinberg singing falsetto, à la Curtis Mayfield. A funky pop/rock song with hints of Sly, compelling rhythm and thunderclap drumming. Drums, bass and guitar are perfectly in sync on an almost syncopated groove. Interesting harmonies set this song apart, showing the band’s creativity. Captain Danger definitely has their own sound.
As with some debut EPs, they’re served up with a platter of different sounds or genres. Love Sweet Love is no different in that it makes a U-turn with intense punk/rocker “I Don’t Wonder Who is Loving You.” At a frenetic pace, it showcases Steinberg’s vocals that seem made for punk. The tasty guitar solo is a nod to Hendrix in all the best ways.
After a sweet reggae tune, “Too Tough To Say” rolls in swinging, another shift for the EP, an indie rocker with interesting chord changes and a rhythm section with hints of Fine Young Cannibals. This track showcases the band as storytellers with something original to say about the human condition and the relationship of hate to fear. The rhythm guitar combined with reverb on the vocals and backing chorus, give it a bit of a space-age, edgy feel.
Such an interesting talented band. In a similar camp as Snarky Puppy, Lettuce and Vulfpeck but with a definite edge and unique sound, Captain Danger is headed for greatness.
Listen to “Come On Come Along”
Bold and blazing, “Hollywood Douchebag” returns to the wonderful funk-rock groove with which the EP kicked off. With plenty of satire and humor, the song is about the typical Hollywood industry professional we’ve all come to recognize. Steinberg on vocals grabs this track and makes you believe every word on this badass groove. A nod to Prince’s “Kiss,” Steinberg sings with the same staccato “You-don’t-have-to-be—.” Steinberg’s personality comes through in the most wonderful way as he sings about the industry stereotype. And then the song expands with strings, elements of jazz and big production–brilliant. Horns, splendid guitar riffs, bass, drums and percussion all sync on this unique and playful tune. And yet there is a note of seriousness about coming to Los Angeles to make it in the business and what you might encounter. After mention of the traffic on L.A. freeways, Steinberg sings a sweet but ironic refrain, “You know why you came to this town, it’s love sweet love…. Maybe you’ll find something else.” And then the crack of funk-rock rolls in.
Pre-order link for Love Sweet Love
Captain Danger Online