Lack of Afro – I’m Here Now (LOA Records) 

Release Date: Out Now

I’ve been looking forward to the release of this album for most of 2020 and then it went and dropped while I was wired in to the end of a morphine drip in a London hospital so I’m only just getting around to enjoying it. Nevertheless, this latest LP from Exeter’s Lack of Afro is nothing if not enjoyable so I wanted to make sure I brought it to your attention. For the uninitiated, Lack of Afro is the musical vehicle Devonian producer and musician Adam Gibbons who brings in assorted talents from across the globe to help bring the funk in a way that nobody else is doing on the UK scene right now.

‘I’m Here Now’, as an album, is a blast of confidence and a shot of getupandgo in the arm of an otherwise lethargic world right now so strap on your best headphones (plenty of bass please) and let’s dive in. We get underway with ‘Not a Problem’ featuring Watsky and Alyssa Marie on vocal duties and an Arctic Monkeys-esque riff given a groove and funk energy by a superbly tight drum and bass combo. Recent single ‘You Could Do Better’ is up next with Camila Recchio and Wax stepping up to the mic for a soulful, Motown jam before another single, ‘Bad Ass Self’, invites Kennzo to turn the funk up to 11 with the kind of looped riff that will have your head nodding involuntarily.

That tight guitar sound continues on ‘Got My Number’ with the deadpan vocals of Jordan Stephens giving this a Mark Ronson vs the Streets vibe. At the halfway point, ‘Wait For Me’ slows things down for Mica Millar to take us on a soul infused slow dance before the instrumental ‘Game Day’ makes a surf-rock play to be used as a the bed music under a goal of the month montage on Match of the Day. Ric Flo and Elliot Cole take the steering wheel on ‘Triumph’ which falls somewhere between Beastie Boys, Prophets of Rage and Dust Junkys heading out on a road trip in a big ol’ Winnebago. ‘Magical Man’ is a surprisingly rocky number that feels like Hendrix rebooted for 2020 while ‘Still Surviving’ finds Cole returning but this with Herbal T joining in for a song that is full of restlessness kept in check by some soothing keys. The album finishes up on ‘Speakers Erupt’ with Marie returning with Milez Grimez for a track that would feel out of place in a Rage Against the Machine set. This is an assured album full of infectious tunes, engaging lyrics and grooves so deep that there will be no chance of the needle slipping no matter how much the party kicks off. Album of the year contender? I wouldn’t bet against it.

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