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Fearless Flyers - IV EP Review

written by Amir Lahoud on

Hey everyone! We're trying something different from our weekly new music adds. Today, professor and WUVT AM Matt Nowinski goes in-depth with a review of the new Fearless Flyers EP!

The Fearless Flyers IV EP cover art

Fearless Flyers by IV

Matt Nowinski

This EP soars from beginning to end! The Fearless Flyers, a Vulfpeck adjacent band, are a modern reincarnation of legendary instrumental funk groups like Booker T. & the M.G.'s, The Meters, and the Muscle Shoals Swampers. The Fearless Flyers' sound is unique, however, as they combine guitar (Cory Wong), bass (Joe Dart), and drums (Nate Smith) but trade out the traditional keyboard (or organ) for baritone electric guitar (Mark Lattieri). Their fourth EP, IV, was recorded live during a residency at NYC's Blue Note Jazz Club in December 2023.

The album's tracks are titled after US and international military aerobatics teams. The lead track, Blue Angels, is a bass-powered funk locomotive, highlighted by a unison guitar/baritone/bass walking riff. Red Arrows - my favorite track - is a tight, crispy burner featuring a mid-song breakdown and signature Nate Smith syncopated drum fiesta. Patrouille de France, the third track, is a twangy blues jam hosting Cory Wong's drippy guitar solo. On Frecce Tricolori, check out the echoes of Steely Dan in the opening and closing riff! Snowbirds mixes the sounds of the Doobie Brothers and Funkadelic, highlighted by a melodic Joe Dart bass solo. The angular last track, Thunderbird, features a wacky, heavily synthesized Mark Lettieri guitar solo (listen for Gerswhin's Rhapsody in Blue!).

However, as good as this album sounds, don't forget to check out the companion video online. With their signature sunglasses, auto-mechanic coveralls, and strapless guitars, the Fearless Flyers are a fun visual experience, too.

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