Given that several of its members worked on the music for the hit Broadway musical “Fela!”, it’s no surprise that Brooklyn’s Antibalas sounds newly energized on its latest album, the group’s first since 2007’s “Security.”
Not that Antibalas needed any further instruction in the force of nature that was the late Fela Kuti, but the group’s new self-titled album is the kind of taut statement of purpose that could come only from a band eager to get back to the business of being one of the finest U.S.-based Afrobeat ensembles working today.
For further proof, see what happens when you put the ferocious album-closer “Sare Kon Kon” on at your next party. Anchored by a racing bassline that feels capable of pushing the song further ahead until sometime next week, the song is a delirious blend of twisting, hard-hitting horns and call-and-response vocals that might merit a warning label as a fire hazard.
Always key to Afrobeat’s propulsive energy, the group’s seemingly effortless, air-tight rhythm anchors the galloping drive of “Ari Degbe,” which features a gritty keyboard melody, while tracks such as “Dirty Money” and “The Ratcatcher” honor Afrobeat’s roots as the music of social protest. Fela Kuti may fade from glitzy playhouses, but Antibalas will make sure his spirit stays on the streets. - LA TIMES