Volume 90, Issue 72

Friday, January 31, 1997

big stick


A funkier band of gypsies

Gazette file photo
SOUL THROUGH THE PEEP HOLE. The members of Gypsy Soul welcome you to groove through the door of funk

By Mark Lewandowski
Gazette Staff

At a time when the entertainment world has narrowed its scope onto the digitally-remastered Cash Wars, whoops, Star Wars, few have noticed the new soulfully-revamped direction of Gypsy Soul.

The band has enjoyed substantial success since crawling out of the primordial ooze a.k.a. band-battling in Toronto high school fuzz-and-feedback-athons. The natural selection which has separated Gypsy Soul from its competition is a jazzy flavour on a funk backbone.

But one year ago this band's funk-tastic evolution became endangered as it encountered "creative differences" and a subsequent break-up with charismatic lead singer Lauren Bauer; the group has turned to a more soulful replacement in Marcus. This left the act with the arduous task of producing a new sound and creating a new image.

"We've changed immensely since even last year," proclaims guitarist Dave Krain, referring to a post-Bauer set late last year and to the new range of sound the band is trying to create.

Krain notes a new album "will be funk-based but we are experimenting with new sounds in the studio and putting them into the new package."

Krain barely had enough time to talk between studio trips but after confronting him about the band's lack of an identifiable personality he gave me all the time I needed.

"The whole band has changed," he explains. "People still remember us but once we release our new album our new image will come through."

Hopefully the door which they had one foot in will be forgiving to the band's creative restructuring. But will the addition of one member be sufficient to neutralize the loss of Bauer and keep pace with such T.O. talent as One Step Beyond?

"We're not moving with the Toronto scene," Krain states in an attempt to distance the band from its contemporaries. "When you hear the new album you'll see that. It will still be funk-based but with string arrangements and a mixture of different instruments, like distorted trumpets that you can barely recognize."

Experimentation like that sounds all right. A trumpet a day keeps Bush X fans at bay – now that's progress.

"Our live and studio play will be different. The last thing you want when you go to a show is to hear the exact same song as the album," Krain points out. It is refreshing to see a band that is not afraid to experiment with its music – evolve, if you will. The package should be hitting local record shops this spring.

"The new album is not what people are expecting, it's a lot more modern. We don't want to do the same thing because people will get bored of that," Krain says, exposing a paradox this young band is trying to overcome.

We didn't get a chance to get bored of the old style. But necessity is the indifferent stepfather of re-invention and it seems that Gypsy Soul is on the right track. For every Pete Best there is a Ringo Starr. Hopefully the move to Marcus will be a musical and visual success. The Gypsys will be baring their Soul and their new sound Saturday night at The Embassy.

To Contact The Popped Culture Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997