Ava Luna

Electric Ballroom (Western Vinyl)

SXSW 2014 Records

Ava Luna

Electric Balloon (Western Vinyl)

Brooklyn's Ava Luna makes disparate funk for these desperate times. The band's second proper full-length packs in more references than a LinkedIn profile: Gang of Four's post-punk clamor ("Daydream"), the deep funk minimalism of ESG ("Sears Roebuck M&Ms"), echoes of Talking Heads ("Ab Ovo"), and Purple Rain on repeat (everything else) – all with jigsaw precision and disco. Frontman Carlos Hernandez is the lynchpin, holding the music, if not himself, together. In opener "Daydream," he sounds almost manic, as if cracking at the seams, an effect heightened by shards of saxophone. Unlike debut LP Ice Level, he knows when to reel it in. "I need a man," he teases in a hushed falsetto on seductive R&B burner "Crown," desperate and vulnerable. Paradoxically, the highlight arrives when he's in the background. Keyboardist Felicia Douglass stars on "PRPL," a slinky slow jam that, like much of Electric Balloon, reveals more of itself with each listen. (12mid, Victorian Room at the Driskill)

***

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