Wylde Bunch makes marching bands suddenly cool

By By Jesse Peterson

By Jesse Peterson

Wylde BunchWylde Bunch, EPSurfdog RecordsThree-and-a-half out of five stars

What would have happened, say, if we were all back in high school and instead of the punks, weirdos and hipsters forming the garage bands, it were the entire marching band and they didn’t play marching-band music?

I would have guessed that the universe would implode, but apparently this isn’t possible. Instead, in Southern California’s case, a similar marching band has simply fused into the new collective, dubbed Wylde Bunch.

While most genre-fusing artists do their best to hide blatant influences, Wylde Bunch flaunts them. Wearing the badges of Earth, Wind & Fire, Outkast, and Fishbone on their marching jacket sleeves, Wylde Bunch’s self-titled EP delivers on various levels. The record delves into funk, reggae and soul from a melodic-pop, hip-hop approach.

Hovering between 10 and 15 members who share numerous familial relations and all grew up together, Wylde Bunch has a sound that fills every nook and cranny. Seeing the band live would most likely be a blast.

The problem with this self-titled EP is that it runs short. A couple of lyrical clichs pop up here and there; some of these are imbibed with a sense of wink-wink humor, making it hard to fault the earnestness of the bunch when they fail to acknowledge their own cheesiness.

Anyway, Wylde Bunch is a band to look into, and chances are that obsessed sports dorks have probably already heard them on various sports video games, sports TV shows or possibly a Black-Eyed Peas tour.

My one piece of advice is this: Someone ought to convince the Wylde Bunch that it’s a real band now — i.e., it doesn’t need to play sporting events anymore.