Vienna Groove Unit – Raw (2021)

Vienna Groove Unit is here to fill our senses with a sound that is delightfully unique and endlessly groovy. Using the raw traditions of 70s funk, jazz, groove and soul, they add an Austrian-Viennese twist for their aptly titled EP Raw. Across six tracks, they bring their mind-blowing sound that excites your senses and catches you in the movement of the music.

The band came together in Vienna in 2020, after thousands of gigs with well-known artists. Using the skills they have honed over unforgettable live performances, they bring the raw pace of funk to some downtempo Viennese sensibilities. All that’s left is for listeners to fasten their seatbelts and let the music fly through their souls.

The EP opens with ‘Vaccine’ and its groovy beat that slowly builds through the soundscape. The bass is a deep twang that warbles through your chest, before the higher tones take over. There is a retro edge to the sound of the keys that is endlessly engaging. You can’t listen to this opening and not feel the urge to move to the rhythm in some way . While there is a funky feel to the music, it is tempered by a subdued vibe that makes each note even better. The pauses spread throughout the track are a great addition that enhances the groovy movement of the track. There is a swing into a jazz vibe later in the track that highlights the musicality of the band. This is a perfect opening track for the EP as it introduces you to the band’s sound without being too overwhelming in its groovy movements.

‘Song for Charly’ has a livelier feeling to the opening with an almost gospel organ movement in the low levels. There is a fun vibe to this track that lifts your spirits. The funky movements of the song are almost playful as they tease against your ear and put a smile on your face. Halfway through the song, the guitar takes over a moment with this wonderful riff that makes you want to close your eyes and soak up the movement. Beneath it, the keys add an extra push to the run of the guitar which is wonderful to hear. After the guitar riff, the keys get their chance to really shine creating an almost call and response movement to the track. Through all of this, the bright and light feeling of the song remains allowing you to have a great time while listening.

The guitar line that opens ‘Boogaloo for you’ meets the electric tones of the keys for a layered movement. There is a very smooth and cool feeling to this track as it draws you down a sunny path. There is something in the music that makes you think of sunny days spent outside, where the temperature is just right, and you have no cares. The easy meandering walk of the song turns later in the track for a skip and jump. The increase in the music is masterfully handled, turning into a natural progression that gets you bouncing around to the sound. The keys are amazing on this track and keep you engaged through each note. There are a few changes in pace throughout the song which keeps you hooked, but has been handled with a seasoned artistic hand leading you back to that sunny walk.

‘The Travel’ has a darker and deeper feeling to it which comes through on the thumping bass of the opening. There is an almost whispered feeling to the guitars like they are telling you a secret. This is enhanced by the keys that seem to be telling you to keep things under wraps. This feeling of secrecy evaporates as the song progresses, bringing a free feeling with it. There are some new tones that come through the soundscape like the scratch of an album. This is all woven into the traditional funky jazz of the past, but there is a modern edge to proceedings. The drums rise up in the latter parts of the track and come at your senses from all directions before the bass from the opening comes back.

The band brings a completely new tone with ‘Mr. Trixler’ which fills your sense with a rather ominous sensation. The music has a feeling of something dark and creepy waiting for you just around the corner. This feeling forms a tense coil in your chest that is just waiting to explode into a fight or flight response. At times, there is a stop-start feel to the music before the dark tones rise from the depths once again. The darkness of the music does lift but there is a tension that remains only to be lifted by the earthier movement of the guitar. When this guitar comes in, you are provided with a moment to breathe against the pressure of the darkness. Later in the track, there is a burst of instrumentation that forms an almost panicked feeling that really gets your heart racing.

The EP comes to an end with ‘The Reverent’ which brings you back to some of the happier funky tones. The opening line has you smiling as your feet tap away to the addictive shuffle of the drums. The guitars and keys merge into a groovy layer that is too enjoyable for its own good. The light feeling of the music is a wonderful reprieve following the last track and takes you back to the heart of groovy funk that rests in the core of the band’s sound. You can easily close your eyes and let the movement of this song wash over you. As with the other tracks, each instrument gets its chance to shine in the track while adding to the addictive movement of the whole.

Vienna Groove Unit has you bopping, swaying and addicted to their groovy funk sound as they blend old-school tones with downtempo sensibilities in Raw. Each track has a unique movement while retaining the core of the band’s sound. From light and happy to dark and ominous, the EP showcases the band’s musicality and versatility while keeping you entertained.

Find out more about Vienna Groove Unit on their website and Spotify.

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