Here Come the Mummies insist on “remaining in character” for interviews. They have established a name in the South and Midwest with sizzling live shows and a string of solid albums. They also received bigger exposure when the 2009 movie, “Fired Up,” used their music on the soundtrack.

There’s a long history of funk bands and unusual attire, from Parliament/Funkadelic’s spacey glitz to Sly and the Family Stone’s flamboyant weirdness. But few can compare to the troupe known as Here Come the Mummies, who perform as fully costumed Egyptian mummies.


Here Come the Mummies released their fifth studio album, “Carnal Carnival,” in October. Their costumes may be unique and extensively detailed, but none of the visual effects are present on the album, which is quite striking nonetheless.


With a six-man horn section on most cuts and multiple lead and backup vocalists, this is big-band funk and soul, and the arrangements are sophisticated enough to entice jazz fans, yet the grooves are hard-edged and visceral enough to attract funk and R&B fans.


Here Come the Mummies insist on “remaining in character” for interviews.


Here’s what we know: The band’s website and merchandising are based in Nashville, Tenn., where they recorded the latest album, so we can assume they’re based in Music City. Some of the previous albums used smaller lineups, but the current alignment seems to be nine musicians.


Since their 2002 debut album, “Terrifying Funk from Beyond,” Here Come the Mummies have established a name in the South and Midwest with sizzling live shows and a string of solid albums.


They also received bigger exposure when the 2009 movie, “Fired Up,” used their music on the soundtrack. The band also has forged an independent success story, releasing its music on its own Sphinxter Records, and via its website, www.herecomethemummies.com.


There’s no mystery about the new album, however, just terrific music in a variety of funk formats. The title cut that opens “Carnal Carnival” is a woozy, spacey carnival march that answers the question, “What would you get by combining funk and circus music?” It also serves as an introduction to the band’s lyrics, which often delve into double-entendres amid the constant references to ancient history.


“Freak Flag” is probably the best, most vibrant funk or R&B tune I’ve heard this year, an impossibly effervescent dance floor anthem with soulful vocals.


There’s an obvious debt to Sly and the Family Stone in “Chunky,” which rides a hard groove of horns and organ riffs, with a raw vocal that never totally convinces you they’re singing about food.


“Eye of Horus” is a dazzling combination of disparate elements, as its lyrics weave an aura of ancient Egyptian mythology. Meanwhile, the poppy ballad itself is so smooth it reminds you of Earth, Wind and Fire at its best.


But the smooth soul side of Here Come the Mummies really shines on “Love Triangle,” which melds big-band dynamics, buttery vocals and a funky/swinging arrangement so well, you might think The Fifth Dimension was back in action. The warm love ballad “U Can’t Be Beat” is another delectable bit of soaring soul, and it has a tongue-in-cheek edge as well, since spanking is involved.


The weird side of Here Come the Mummies gets full play on the spooky “Creepin’,” where disembodied-organ lines suggest the band is sneaking out of its crypt. The lyric content of “Jailbait” might be obvious, but the way the band uses parallel vocals and horn lines is remarkable.


I conducted an e-mail interview with Java Mummy, the troupe’s percussionist and one of six vocalists.


“We’ve been playing together for more than 3,500 years,” he said. “In fact, we were playing together since before we were cursed to become mummies. We were a nomadic band of musicians, with the typical habit of chasing ladies. One day we chased the wrong ladies, a vengeful Pharaoh’s daughters, and his curse made us mummies. But the last laugh was ours, for 3,500 years later, we are still chasing ladies.


“We were always playing the ‘dance’ music of the age,” Java Mummy added. “Why? Because it makes the ladies happy, and happy ladies make happy mummies.”


How about those shifting lineups, and aren’t those mummy outfits confining and hot?


“The mummy bench is very deep. There is a main pool of 12 of us, and the total number is closer to 30, although only nine play onstage. This allows the show to continue while other mummies lounge in Tahiti.


“We would prefer to play in the nude,” Java Mummy said of the costumes, “but without the wraps, we disintegrate in a pile of bones.”


The band switches around between funk, soul and R&B on the CD, but does that versatility also make them hard to market?


“We just play what we enjoy,” Java Mummy said. “Our recordings do tend to genre-hop a bit, but at the core everything is danceable. In the funk spectrum, we are more like Earth, Wind and Fire or Stevie Wonder, in that the funk is secondary to the melody and song structure.”