Inspired by the philosophy espoused by Gabriel Roth of the Dap-Kings, which they discovered when it was summarized in an article he wrote for Big Daddy magazine, Shitty Is Pretty: Anatomy of a Heavy Funk 45, the Bamboos play old-fashioned funk and soul with a strong emphasis on repeated grooves, simplicity, and old-fashioned low-tech recording techniques.
Bamboos founding member and guitarist Lance Ferguson, who schizophrenically also releases electronic side projects under his DJ name Lanu, began the group as a four-piece in 2000 to play a string of concerts in Melbourne club The Night Cat. Joining him for this initial version of the band were Ben Grayson on Hammond organ, Stuart Speed on bass, and Scott Lambie on drums, playing straightforward New Orleans funk in a style heavily influenced by the Meters. After this string of concerts, the Bamboos expanded to add a horn section consisting of Ross Irwin on trumpet, Phil Noy on baritone saxophone, and Anton Delecca on tenor saxophone and flute. New drummer Danny Farrugia and new bass player Yuri Pavlinov completed the shaken-up lineup.
Following the Roth model, their first independent releases were vinyl 45s, which attracted the attention of the Tru Thoughts label. In 2005 they worked on their debut full-length for Tru Thoughts, Step It Up, which was followed by Rawville in 2007. Experimenting with occasional vocal additions, they discovered talented singer Kylie Auldist and devoted their next album, 2008's Just Say: The Bamboos Present Kylie Auldist, entirely to songs co-written with her. That year they also released Side-Stepper, which featured vocal contributions from Auldist as well as Melbourne singer Megan Washington and British rapper TY, as well as a live album, Listen! Hear! Live!!! Ironically for the low-tech band, it was their work on the soundtrack to Nintendo game De Blob that would expose their music to the greatest number of listeners when the game went multi-platinum, selling hundreds of thousands of copies. They also placed songs in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Ugly Betty, and Underbelly, as well as the film Crazy Stupid Love. In 2010, their fourth album, 4, was released, followed in 2012 by Medicine Man. ~ Jody Macgregor, Rovi