Youth Move­ment

Exclaim! - - REVIEWS - VISH KHANNA KYLE MULLIN DANIEL SYLVESTER RYAN B. PA­TRICK

An­tibalas

Where the Gods Are in Peace

Since their 2012 al­bum An­tibalas, the Afrobeat col­lec­tive have seen a num­ber of mu­si­cians leave for other projects, but as Where the Gods Are in Peace shows, the Brook­lyn band have ben­e­fited from an in­flux of new play­ers, too. Per­haps the youth move­ment in this 12-piece band were weaned on early An­tibalas — this five-track LP res­ur­rects ev­ery­thing that made the group such an im­por­tant part of the New York funk scene in the early 2000s. With an al­bum-long theme re­volv­ing around the as­cent of an alien who joins forces with na­tives to save the world, An­tibalas seem more than ready to push them­selves to an­other mu­si­cal level. (Afrosound/Dap­tone, dap­tonere­cords.com)

Was there pres­sure to write songs about the Trump

this new blast of in­stru­men­tal rock is writ­ten all over the al­bum art­work: the­mat­i­cally, the col­lec­tive speak out against cor­po­rate ex­cess, the ex­ploita­tion of labour, the hope­less­ness of war and gov­ern­ment-branded forms of self-in­flicted do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism and the com­pla­cent, false sense that this coun­try may be a bet­ter na­tion than the rest. It’s not un­usual for Godspeed to ar­tic­u­late such things on a record sleeve, but bol­stered by a few guests (Bon­nie Kane, Craig Ped­er­son) and the know­ing ears of en­gi­neer Greg Nor­man, their mu­sic truly an­i­mates the frozen, sar­donic text. “Un­do­ing a Lu­cife­rian Tow­ers” is a dirge that some­how shim­mers, while “Bosses Hang” be­gins as a haunt­ing bass and gui­tar three-chorder be­fore strings and drums pro­pel it sky­ward. Vi­tal and vi­brant, “Lu­cife­rian Tow­ers” is a stun­ning ad­di­tion to their sto­ried cat­a­logue. (Con­stel­la­tion, cstrecords.com)

pres­i­dency?

Sax­o­phon­ist Martin Perna: I think peo­ple get what we’re go­ing with, be­cause the last thing we wanted to do was add to the noise. The term “re­ac­tionary” tends to be used to de­scribe the po­lit­i­cal right, but it could also de­scribe the left, in that we’re just wait­ing for bad things to hap­pen and then get mad and in­dig­nant about them.

Is there a draw­back to be­ing a po­lit­i­cal band?

The thing about be­ing po­lit­i­cally pre­scrip­tive is that we can’t al­ways walk the talk. We [play] sum­mer fes­ti­vals, and we have peo­ple that we don’t re­ally sup­port, like a to­bacco com­pany, and we’re like, “Okay, we’re here now and fans are ex­pect­ing us to play.” The other thing about be­ing po­lit­i­cal is that the world that we live in is full of con­tra­dic­tions. mostly be­cause the Toronto-based MC fills the mix­tape to the brim with gal­va­niz­ing an­thems. “Honey Brown/Money Brown,” is a prime ex­am­ple, thanks to its pa­per-get­ting chants. Other cuts, like “Ev­ery­day,” “10 Year Plan” and “Facts Only” fall in that same in­vig­o­rat­ing vein. But Fresco also shows his ver­sa­til­ity on this re­lease. Songs like “PSA #1 (No Rest for the Wicked)” and “PSA #2 (All My N*ggaz Know)” both fea­ture in­stru­men­tals that are more soul­ful and harken to an ear­lier era of hip-hop. The lat­ter laments the strug­gles that his less for­tu­nate friends have to face on the streets; it’s a stir­ring, so­cially con­scious track that’ll move even the most hard­ened of street hustlers. How U Sur­vive Through Life Ev­ery­day (H.U.S.T.L.E.) finds Fresco not merely sur­viv­ing, but down­right thriv­ing. (sound­cloud.com/razfresco) on last al­bum Dif­fer­en­tol­ogy — and a suc­cess­ful ti­tle track remixed by Ma­jor Lazer and star­ring Busta Rhymes — Turn Up is clearly aimed at a wider au­di­ence. It ac­com­plishes this with tracks that fea­ture heavy Ma­jor Lazer in­flu­ences, no­tably “Dance in Paint” and the EDM-minded “Way Up.” That said, Gar­lin knows his hard­core Car­ni­val sea­son au­di­ence, and serves up the throw­back feel of “Turn Up” and “1995.” Switch­ing it up with a hip-hop feel on the Damian Marley col­lab­o­ra­tion “The Mes­sage,” Gar­lin re­veals his ver­sa­til­ity. Turn Up suc­cess­fully rides a bal­ance be­tween tra­di­tional and ex­per­i­men­tal soca. ( VP, vpre­cords.com)

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