Mix of the Best

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Musicreviews - JIM CAR­ROLL

The co­in­ci­dences and twists of fate which brought The Very Best to­gether beg­gar be­lief. There’s Esau Mwamwaya, a Malaw­ian singer liv­ing in Lon­don and looking af­ter a sec­ond-hand shop. Then there’s Eti­enne Tron, the French half of pro­duc­tion duo Ra­dio­clit, who wan­ders into said shop to buy a cheap sec­ond-hand bike. The next thing you know, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Mwamwaya and Ra­dio­clit’s Tron and Jo­han Karl­berg is born and Warm Heart Of Africa is in the oven.

Once you lock into this joy­ous, ex­u­ber­ent al­bum, though, you soon for­get all about the back story. This is an in­fec­tious sound which skips and jumps from pil­lar to post without ever hang­ing around long enough to ac­quire the bad habits of any one genre. It is truly glo­be­trot­ting, in­ter­plan­e­tary pop. What’s most ex­em­plary about this col­lab­o­ra­tion is how both sides main­tain a democ­racy by bend­ing and twist­ing to the stylis­tic quirks of each other. Even when splayed against Ra­dio­clit’s bang­ing elec­tro-strut, Mwamwaya’s vo­cals still main­tain a joy­ous, wide-beamed, in­no­cent ap­peal. The pro­duc­tion duo in turn are not slow to dial down the elec­tron­ics when the song re­quires a softer, lighter touch.

Their guests fit right into this cos­mopoli­tan com­ing to­gether without caus­ing any rip­ples on the sur­face. Vam­pire Week­end’s Ezra Keonig con­tin­ues his Afropop dal­liances on the con­ta­gious, feel­good ti­tle track, while a stri­dent, forth­right MIA pops up on

Rain Dance to give it socks. But even when it’s just the three Very Best chaps at work, the al­bum hums with har­monic, melodic glee.

Sure, Warm Heart Of Africa will be tagged “world mu­sic”, chiefly be­cause Mwamwaya sings in his na­tive Chichewa tongue, but don’t be put off. Like the mu­si­cians them­selves, take a leap into the un­known and see where you land. www.mys­pace.com/thev­erybest mys­pace

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