Manages to harness the rugged grit of Lagos, whilst simultaneously presenting Allen's...
Martin Longley 2002
Tony Allen played drums in Fela Kuti's bands between 1964 and 1978, contributing a vital element to Afrobeat's evolution. And while he's been active as a bandleader for nearly three decades, Allen's presence has intensified during the last five years.
This set was recorded in Lagos, and manages to harness the rugged grit of that difficult city, whilst simultaneously presenting Allen's signature sound with a slick production sheen. Intense horn riffs, choppy guitar, call-and-response vocals: all of these elements are interwoven with Allen's detailed, cyclic beats, his taut tripping lending an elastic tension to the dancefloor.
The tunes tend to insinuate themselves after several airings. Young, soulful Yinka Davies powers abrasively through "Morose" and "Losun", two songs that boast almost annoyingly catchy choruses, then elderly groaner Fatai Rolling Dollar imparts a completely traditional juju feel to "Awa Na Re", prompting Allen to layer up some heavy hardcore percussion patterns.