Based out of Toronto, the livetronica outfit The Chameleon Project provides a master class in genre hybridization with their unique and highly individual synthesis of funk, EDM, experimental rock, and slinky jazz grooves, among other elements. Their latest release Funk ‘n’ Space is a remarkable outing for this quartet and they pull off their sonic explorations with a combination of the mental and physical outstripping similar efforts in this area. Others have often noted the similarities between the Chameleon Project and other outfits like The Disco Biscuits, STS9, and Soulive, but the results guitarist/FX maven/sampler Josh Laing, bassist Snappy Homefry, drummer Kevin Lee, and keyboardist Jordan Quinn produce are distinct and proudly individual. This is music capable of touching music listeners on both a purely physical and mental level. Funk ‘n’ Space will entertain and sink its hooks into your imagination on the basis of the outfit’s great talents and never panders once to their intended audience.
The opener “Milky Way” begins with strongly melodic keyboard lines and steady drumming before slipping into a cool and ultra-confident groove. There’s a lot going on here, but The Chameleon Project keeps things from ever feeling too cluttered. The guitar work has a clean sound, for the most part, and a nicely chiming quality nicely dovetailing into the arrangement. The vocal content is minimal, but effective. It’s an excellent and comparatively low key way for listeners to meet the band. “Playhouse”, as its title implies, is much less dreamy than the opener and has a visceral quality audiences will immediately connect with. The band’s artful approach, however, is evident in how the rambunctiousness never seems messy or unduly cluttered. A glistening keyboard sheen begins the song “Steppin’” and it’s accompanied by some stentorian spoken word vocals at the beginning. It soon transitions into a spacey, even slightly psychedelic, reggae lope sure to hook in many listeners from the first. It follows that groove for the entirety of the tune, but The Chameleon Project never taxes listeners patience as it remains immensely likeable throughout.
“Reactor” takes the band back to their EDM influences with heavy synth lines and propulsive drumming coming together in the intro. More elements are added as the track progresses and the guitar coming into the picture shortly after the opening has the same nicely melodic quality we’ve heard elsewhere on the album. It’s a near ideal example of how talented the band is at bringing together various disparate elements. “Bigfoot” exhibits some of the band’s rock predilections in a way that most bands of that ilk wouldn’t dare. The guitar work is wiry and imaginative, but also harbors the necessary tension to keep listeners glued to their speakers. The album finale “Wako” is a much more overtly experimental track than most on Funk n Space, but it retains the same genre crossing coherence defining the album as a whole. The album’s final two tracks are remixes of earlier numbers and show their talent for re-envisioning their own material. Funk n Space is the real deal and The Chameleon Project, with their constantly on the move creativity, are an aptly named band.