Lack of Afro My Groove, Your Move Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Their musical language is varied, but based on funk, jazz and soul.

Martin Longley 2009

Lack of Afro is a one-man operation, but expands way beyond the usual DJ/sampling core. Adam Gibbons is a multi-instrumentalist who builds beats, then layers up a thickness of bass, synthesisers, Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes electric piano, saxophones and percussion. His main trusty sidekick is guitarist Nick Radford, who plays on most of the tracks on this follow-up to 2007's Press On. Lack of Afro's musical language is very varied, but its base is the funk, jazz and soul of the 1960s and 70s, as viewed from a dated mid-90s big-beat vantage point.

This imposes a disadvantage, right from the beginning. As each tune develops, with its trademark samples of veteran US musician interviews, a recurring theme is born. Verbal interjections are often triggered in a predictably stuttered fashion, and the beat/sampling constructions are way too obvious, their stitching-together often clearly visible. When guitarist Steve Cropper speaks cracklingly about his penning of Otis Redding's Dock of the Bay, it's over the annoyingly chirpy tune of Together at Last.

Not all of the instrumentals disappoint. A harder psychedelic funk permeates Mo' Filth, so the listener's responses are subject to rapid track-by-track reassessment, so diverse are Lack of Afro's tactics. It's a steaming cut, but still hampered by a clodhopping beat, a leaden quality that remains in place for Beautiful Here.

The vocal tracks with actual singers or rappers fare much better. The exuberant twin brothers Wax and Herbal T bounce their lines over the funk-fuelled International, seeing how many cities and countries they can cram into their rhyme-spillage. Wax returns later for Suspicious Glow, recreating a Beastie Boys bounce. Then, the ultra-soulful Roxie Ray raises up Closer To Me, and reappears for the swaying balladry of Tell Me What Happens Now.

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