If you load New King, the new EP from Bay Area band Drop Apollo, into iTunes, the genre is automatically listed as “Pop/Funk.” Although that’s not one of the standard genre descriptions, it couldn’t be more accurate. From the moment the keys kick in on the album’s title track, the funkiness never stops. On top of that funk, the group repeatedly demonstrates their pop music sensibilities. Click here to listen to that first track, “New King,” on Earbits Radio.
Pop/funk has been a familiar genre for decades now, but in recent years the particular style has typically been associated with bands like Maroon 5. While Drop Apollo would probably appeal to Maroon 5’s fan base, the group seems to more closely adhere to the more traditional aspects of funk. The bass and drums drive the rhythm while the guitars and keys groove along. It’s obvious that the band has had an extensive musical education and has been heavily influenced by the funk greats that they’ve likely studied.
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Unlike many bands that excel within a niche genre like funk, Drop Apollo also has obvious mass appeal. Every song on New King is radio-ready, and that’s by no means an exaggeration. Singer Matt Widdoes has soul that surpasses those prominent in the same scene (like the singer of that aforementioned pop/funk band). Drummer Dan Schwartz supplies a surplus of funk, and the guitars, keys and bass know how to match it.
Track three “Upside Down” is especially commercially appealing. The chorus, including lyrics “Every time you take me back home / I’m so uptown and upside down / Every time I wake up alone / You’re there wasting away from me.” wasted no time getting stuck in my head. At the end of the romantic song Widdoes remarks, “Make no mistake, I can write a love song too.”
“Upside Down” is followed by “Eve,” a song filled with religious descriptions and imagery as well as an entrancing breakdown. The fifth and final song “A Million Miles” ends with a full-on rock jam-out, complete with a shred-tastic guitar solo. As the solo fades out, it leaves you wanting more.
New King is brief, but there’s rarely a dull moment. That type of energy is exciting, but it also makes me wonder what these guys could be capable of if they slowed down the tempo a little bit. I guess we’ll have to wait until they release a full length LP to hear that.
Until that time, you can catch Drop Apollo live at The Mint in Los Angeles on 8/27 for their album release show or at Red Devil Lounge in San Francisco on 9/3 for a similar concert. These shows should be attended not only because you can pick up a hard copy of the EP there, but also because Drop Apollo sounds like they’d be an incredible live band. I mentioned before that all the songs on New King are radio-friendly, but they’re also prime material for a live performance.
If New King or the live performance of the album doesn’t inspire you to dance, you’ve got no soul. Drop Apollo’s got a lot.