Fantastic Negrito - White Jesus Black Problems
Release Date: Out Now
I've been saving this album up for a little treat for myself and it really doesn't disappoint but I guess it is time to share it with the wider world so let's dive in to the outstanding 'White Jesus Black Problems', the new album from the superb Fantastic Negrito. We start our journey with 'Venomous Dogma' which sounds like John Lennon and the Beach Boys masquerading as a lounge band in a Christian casion somewhere in Las Vegas before transforming into a gospel infused blues stomp and leading a procession of followers down the street. Former single 'Highest Bidder' is still as raw, groove heavy and evangelical as ever before giving way to 'Mayor Of Wasteland' throbs and grinds in the mire of American politics for a minute or so.
It is remarkable just how many of these songs have been released as singles in the run up to this album but still work as part of large collection such as 'They Go Low' which lurches and stomps with New Orleans energy. The most recent single was 'Nibbadip' and this one has a lighter musical vibe but 'Oh Betty' brings things back to the swamp with a Jack White meets Orphic Soop tone. There is another interlude on 'You Don't Belong Here' which is as uncomfortable a listen as it sounds before 'Man With No Name' swaggers in with all the energy of Snoop Dogg starring in a remake of Wild Wild West. There is a timeliness and grimness to 'You Better Have A Gun' which finds Fantastic Negrito in vulnerable form as he sings somewhat meekly over a gentle blues melody, "You better have a gun living in the land of God".
The acoustic twang and rattle of 'Trudoo' is soon augmented by preacher-esque vocals and a funky electric guitar melody before 'In My Head' goes ful Grand Funk Railroad on our collective asses. It might only be 81 seconds long but 'Register of Free Negroes' is an emotional piece nonetheless due to its haunting vocal and sparse musicianship. The album closes out on the pleasing twang and gentle stomp of 'Virginia Soil' which feels like a railroad folk song that has grown in to a gospel enriched anthem. Fantastic Negrito brings a number of genres to play on this album, gives them his own spin to modernise them and then wraps it all up with personality and lyrics that make you think. As albums go, this is brilliantly written and perfect for the times we live in (sadly) but it also has some great grooves as well so it works on a whole load of levels.
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26th & 27th July - Jazz Cafe, London