This is a halcyon day for fans of local soul/jazz combo The City Champs, as they've just dropped their first single in over 10 years, the title song from their upcoming album, Luna ’68 (Big Legal Mess). And although the band remains grounded as a groovy trio of organ (Al Gamble), guitar (Joe Restivo), and drums (George Sluppick), this new number has them testing a wholly different atmosphere.
The City Champs
The rich analogue synth sounds that Al Gamble brings to this new number are a new flavor for the group, though it sits nicely with their command of groovy ’60s vibes on previous albums The Safecracker and The Setup.
As Gamble notes on this new element in the Champs' sound, “It's kind of a new thing for me. Even though I was in high school in the ’80s, when it was kind of a big thing, I was never really a synth guy. But over the last few years with St. Paul and the Broken Bones, there's been some synth added to that.”
It's a perfect match for this Restivo composition, which evokes some of the vintage soundtracks he's been known to favor, especially with his other outfit, Detective Bureau.
“I'm real into Piero Umiliani," Restivo notes. "He's an Italian film composer, and the stuff he did in the late ’60s, early ’70s had a futuristic sound to it.”
That retro-futuristic resonance comes through loud and clear with the accompanying video by filmmaker Andrew Fleming, which features mysterious astronauts encountering landscapes beyond their ken. Feast your ears and eyes on this, and watch this space for more on The City Champs when the full album is available.