Afrobeat is one of the great party sounds, and in recent years in terms of UK bands best influenced by the traditions of Fela Kuti a number of outfits, chief among them, Soothsayers have set the bar high, appealing to both African music and jazz fans alike.
Joining Soothsayers in terms of quality yet delivering a slightly more orthodox approach are the London Afrobeat Collective who return five years on from the release of their self-titled debut.
Sticking close to the core Afrobeat sound in their harnessing of that pulsating vital wave of beat-heavy infectious grooving, a siren call for dancers, the Collective have made some line-up changes and now is looking like: singer Funke Adeleke, a forceful presence who also provides most of the socially and politically-charged lyrics plus guitarists Alex Farrell and Alex Szyjanowicz, trumpeter Andy Watts, saxophonists Edmund Swinburn and Klibens Michelet, conga player Lee Crisp, percussionist Zak Cohen, bass guitarist John Mathews and drummer Farivar Gorjian.
Food Chain is a well-recorded studio album produced by Leon Brichard from the Fontanelles bookended by ‘Celebrity Culture’ and ‘Prime Minister’ the latter which, as a single, has already received the remix treatment. A lively dancey affair which I think would be far better experienced live, the lack of development beyond the strictness of the core sound more of an issue listening on record than in a live setting. The style certainly doesn’t allow for a huge amount of improvisation beyond the set patterns and I think for jazz fans this may be a factor. However, the band display plenty of skill and joy in the execution of the collectively-written material and that’s more than enough to make this all a very satisfying listen.
Released on 25 May. ‘Prime Minister’ the final track of Food Chain is above