Mama Coco Funky Kitchen’s compilations have always served as a state of the union of sorts for the artists that call this utopian Brooklyn recording studio, record label and musician’s collective home. Section V finds the good ship MCFK in fine form, if undocked and traversing unfamiliar waters. The release marks a point of transition for the musicians. For the majority of MCFK’s lifespan, the green-walled studio where each of the songs were recorded, and the monthly showcases based out of Muchmore’s, served as a useful synecdoche for this obliging society of musicians. Mama Coco’s has grown exponentially in the last year or so, and due to this and recent circumstances, the collective has decamped these two institutions, to parts yet unknown.
“MCFK Section V” includes some of the finest work to date from MCFK stalwarts Sons of an Illustrious Father, ghostpal, The Great American Novel and The Harmonica Lewinskies, and ranges from the achingly beautiful songs of Sun Looks Down and Hugh Trimble, to the proggy excursions of Ishmael and Iced Ink. Relative newcomers to the fold, The Brooklyn What, NoPop, and The Freaky Baby Daddies, all make stunning debuts on the collection, which are every bit as robust (and just downright fun) as the contributions from the more established acts of Mama Coco’s. There is a perceivable evolution noted in some bands, namely on the contributions from The Graveyard Kids and Mothers, whose tracks are among the most impressive on the album. Though the tracks are disparate in sound and even form, a familiar thread runs through the record, weaving the songs into a fabric stronger than the sum of their strands. It’s not musical influence per se that connects the diverse artists of MCFK. Instead it is a shared habit of ineffability, an inability to fall into neatly designated musical categories. The members of this odd musical kibbutz eschew the pretentious foil so prevalent in contemporary music, the sanding out and simplifying, simply because they have found, it seems, a community and incubator of like minded itinerants for support, whom like themselves can create nothing else.
I implore you to go deep. There’s not a throwaway on this album. This is MCFK in exodus, before the next great leap – not traveling light exactly, but with many backs to carry the load. If nothing else, they travel in good company.