We’re told that one of Funkystepz’ best tunes, “Bounce”, had to be dropped from this EP for “legal reasons”. Doubling as the instrumental underlying “For You” (sung by Lily Mackenzie) maybe its exclusion hints at a bigger deal, but either way the rest of “Face Off” provides ample compensation.
To begin with we get a video-game digitisation of UK funky patterns in “Caution”, rendered as an unravelling knot of 8-bit flourishes. Tense enough to soundtrack fiendish levels, it’s also primed to heat up dancefloors, effectively one giddy build-up from start to finish.
As the title might suggest “Loca Moca” approximates a cartoonish Latin vibe, but if that sounds dubious it exceeds expectations. While the track is sprung with an infectious bounce, carousing along with typical madness, its central trope is pleasantly underplayed despite the exuberance.
“Shocker” raises the stakes from nuttiness to something approaching delusion. Its memorable intro melds terrorcore stabs with TV-theme guitar licks, before suddenly collapsing into a pit of throbbing, minimalist house. On paper, again, there might be a whiff of the overripe, but in reality a joyless disposition would be needed not to succumb.
Drafted in to replace “Bounce”, “Piano Storm” ducks marimba and a string-quartet vamps in and out of a frenetic hand clap rhythm, being light on piano despite the name. Although not the most immediately winning cut, it’s no exception to the rule of thumb with Funkystepz: this young collective of three Londoners make their moves with such instinctive jouissance and originality that they’re rarely easy to resist.