In 2003, Oscar de Jong, Mark Kneppers and Wim Plug came together and decided to create the electro-funk group Kraak & Smaak. I don’t believe this Dutch trio realised what an impact they would have on the electro/house genre when they began recording a decade ago; however, with four studio albums under their belts and collaborations with international artists such as Jamiroquai and Sam Sparro, Kraak & Smaak are now heavyweights in their own right. The latest single, ‘Good For The City’, sees them collaborating with a well-known name in the indie rock genre – Sam Duckworth.
Sam Duckworth, a.k.a. Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, is known for his diverse musical styles and liberal messages. It seems only natural for this activist to join forces with the anti-establishment team who have produced releases like Boogie Angst and Plastic People.
The track begins with traditional synth-pop notes reminding you of a 1970s Talking Heads intro. As the beat continues, you hear the Kraak & Smaak funk kick in along with Sam Duckworth’s distinctive voice. What I find amusing is the combination of a ‘good vibes’ 1970s disco/funk sound with the radical, anti-government opinions which were also evident in the 1970s, just updated slightly for our convenience.
The musicians have cleverly broken the presence of their keyboard to accommodate Duckworth’s lyrics of prosecutors laying out their plans and wasting the temples of our souls. You’ll find the series of single keyboard notes separated by verses and a chorus. However, the sung sections are accompanied by a steady bassline placed to maintain continuity, but I feel it is also a sign of community or agreement with this message.
Kraak & Smaak and Sam Duckworth cement their anti-bureaucratic rise of the proletariat chant at approximately 3:30 where all instrumental backing gives way to a steady group clapping that increases in volume as the chorus of ‘this will be good for the city, imagine it there looking oh so pretty’ continues.
I find this a skillful single carefully constructed to deliver an important message wrapped up as a multi-coloured and catchy electro-funk tune. The violin ending is particularly intriguing as these instruments are generally associated with weighty news allowing us to contemplate how ‘the diggers set upon the carcass, with broken hearts we watch it fall/ the cornerstone of this fine city, the monumental urban sprawl.’