Con Funk Shun

Burnin' Love

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Although Con Funk Shun had enjoyed a chart run which had lasted nearly a decade, by 1986's Burnin' Love it was clear that the band had finally run their course. The breaking point very nearly came when founding member, Felton Pilate, quit to strike out on his own venture; although Melvin Carter quickly replaced him, the band's dynamic was indelibly altered. Now packing a completely contemporary sound, wrapped in the squelchy electronics that signposted the middle of the decade, Con Funk Shun left behind almost all the traditional trappings that dominated their earlier funk sensibilities. Punchy and slick, the album is best heard across its two charting singles -- the title track and "She's a Star" are bubbly and up-tempo, the latter adding a light rap to the mix. With "Do Ya" and "She's Sweet" providing additional highlights, it's ultimately apparent that, while the band kept most of the juice from 1985's Electric Lady, they were still able to ground themselves with a traditional groove from time to time. Still successful, Con Funk Shun had nevertheless become a tired horse in the field, one of hundreds of bands out there who just couldn't find a place in the dire middle '80s. But having already headed their own quiet storm dynasty, why would they want to? Disbanding in the wake of Burnin' Love the band was able, at least, to exit the stage near the top with a modicum of style.