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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - Eoin But­ler

MARY J BLIGE ft KANYE WEST Love Your­self ★★★

Capitol Records The first track from Mary J. Blige’s new al­bum opens, in­nocu­ously enough, with some gen­tle pi­ano tin­kling. Then the beat drops, the brass blares out and things re­ally start to cook.

Love Your­self, as the ti­tle sug­gests, is a song about the im­por­tance of lov­ing one­self. So, nat­u­rally, the reign­ing No­bel lau­re­ate of Self Re­gard, Kanye West, chips in a verse. Blige’s 13th stu­dio al­bum Strength of a Woman is out April 28th.

OR­CHES­TRA BAOBAB Foulo ★★★★ World Cir­cuit

Or­ches­tra Baobab are a leg­endary Sene­galese club band who have re­u­nited to record their first new al­bum in a decade, in trib­ute to former mem­ber Ndiouga Dieng who passed away last year. If, like me, your only ref­er­ence point for mu­sic from West Africa is the jazz-funk Afrobeat of Fela Kuti, then the bla­tantly Cuban-in­flu­enced sound in ev­i­dence here may come a little out of left­field. But it all works: there is sun­shine drip­ping from ev­ery joy­ous note.

TOUTS Sold Out ★★★ Home­town Records

“A singer that can’t sing, a mod that can’t play bass and a drum­mer that can’t see” is how this punk rock trio’s Twit­ter bio an­nounces them. But per­haps their most au­da­cious boast should be that they’re a Derry band who have know­ingly adopted the moniker Touts. Clearly, in the city of The Un­der­tones, times have changed for the bet­ter since the late 1970s and 1980s. Even if the mu­si­cal aes­thetic does still ap­pear rather set in stone.

DER­MOT KENNEDY Glory ★★★

Der­mot Kennedy is a rather earnest Dublin singer-song­writer who has sup­ported the likes of Glen Hansard, and whose Af­ter Rain song has been go­ing gang­busters on Spo­tify since it’s re­lease last year. New song Glory is taken from his im­mi­nent Doves &

Ravens EP. If there’s a Hozier-shaped hole in your heart, this might just fill in tem­po­rar­ily.

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