Melbourne nine-piece soul/funk powerhouse, The Bamboos, return with Hard Up, a stripped-down, serious piece of Funk that manages to tap into the widespread sense of unease that’s coming to typify the modern age for too many of us.
The track’s spare, insistent groove and whistled hook display a back to basics approach, tapping into the propulsive rawness of the band’s beloved early catalogue. Matching that mood perfectly is Kylie Auldist’s delivery of the lyrics, where she refuses to let any hardship that she may go through to hold her down.
“They keep adding zeroes,
Me, I only got one single nought”
“Kylie and I wrote ‘Hard Up’ before COVID 19 turned the world upside down”, says bandleader/guitarist / co-producer, Lance Ferguson “But it feels like it strikes an even louder chord right now. It’s a song about the struggle and the fight to hold your own in life, and never ever backing down.”
Needing to film a video during the worst of the current pandemic, Ferguson had to think creatively with director Nick Rieve. “We filmed the video clip during full lockdown, so the only option if we were to keep to the government restrictions, was to shoot it at our own houses, from a distance or through windows, with a one-person crew.” The result is a realistic take on the isolation that we’ve all been feeling. “No one in the band knew how it was going to look until it was all put together at the end.”
2020 marks twenty years since the band’s formation, and while they have plans to mark that anniversary, Hard Up shows them relentlessly moving forward. All of these reasons are why The Bamboos continue to hold a loyal fan base worldwide and a matching status as one of the most important acts in soul music.
Hard Up was produced by Ferguson and mixed alongside long-time collaborator and mixer John Castle, whose recent resume includes Cub Sport, Hatchie, Paul Kelly and Angie McMahon. It’s the band’s first recording released since 2019’s album of orchestral re-imaginings, By Special Arrangement and their first new music since 2018’s Night Time People. The latter received worldwide acclaim, with radio support in the UK (especially from long time champion Craig Charles on BBC 6 Music), USA, France, Greece and Germany.