Throw a party

- By Daniel Sylvester

AFTER MEETING ONE ANOTHER AT THE POP MONTREAL FESTIVAL EARLIER THIS DECADE, Ngabonziza Kiroko, singer and songwriter for French language indie band Dear Denizen, and Pierre Kwenders, who has released two LPs of Antilles hip-hoptinged pop, nurtured a friendship years before they decided to make music together.

“We grew a friendship and

I was like, ‘We should work on something together just to see how we feel,’” Kiroko says. “The first thing we actually did together was New Constellat­ion, and from that moment on we were like,

‘Let’s just have fun.’”

New Constellat­ion, released in 2016, was the debut effort by duo, collective­ly called ABAKOS. The three-track/13-minute EP immediatel­y created buzz, due to the duo’s blend of sleek electro, ’80s new wave, R&B and Congolese rumba. “We had all the songs ready, but we just put a few out, then we waited to see how things go,” Kiroko reveals.

Their latest release, Solar Soldier, includes all three tracks from New Constellat­ion, plus four more songs also written around the same time. “We’ve been performing these for a while, but never put them out, because we wanted to give the fans just a taste of what we are made for,” explains Kwenders.

Aside from the album’s lead off track “Run,” which contains the lyrics “This is not what we signed for, Mr. President,” Solar Soldier focuses on matters of the heart, from the robotic, sexually charged “For the Hell of It” to the joyfully soulful “Solar Soldier.” “It’s never intentiona­l for us to be political,” Kwenders says. “There might be a song or two in there that would make people think, but we just want people to have fun because there’s a lot of shitty stuff going on in the world.”

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