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- Debo Band by Debo Band
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What we have here is, as our very own Big Boss Phil would say, a fusion. Yes, a fusion. Sub Pop’s output has been frankly confusing lately as they haphazardly put out any old thing, regardless of genre, but they’re still stumbling upon the occasional gem. This band is one of those gems. Marvel as they navigate the musical landscapes of the entire globe through their own unique brand of Ethio-funk with such grace and fluidity that despite the diversity on offer you never question that it’s the same band playing the songs.
From the opening Afro-jazz waltz of Akale Wube to the closing breathy-squeak-laden ska/Ethio-groove hybrid of DC flower, these guys and girls mix up their flavours in captivating but most importantly entertaining and accessible ways. There’s slinky Arabic balladeering with a touch of eastern European folk about it in ‘Yefeker Wegagene’, rubbing up against the exultant Afrobeat of ‘Asha’ with almost ska-esque brass parts and a brightly psychedelic guitar breakdown. Over the course of the album I am also repeatedly reminded of ‘70s cop soundtracks. Basically anything goes for this onze-ou-douzetet.
The liner notes indicate that Ethiopian music from the golden age of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s is this band’s primary influence, but it’s done with such a modern looseness and all-encompassing vigour that this explanation seems to fall short of what this band is actually doing here, which is taking that African jazz style and melding it with all sorts of other cultural flavours for a surprisingly delicious mix, kind of like that time I put chopped up vegetarian Cumberland sausages in sweet and sour sauce and served them with spinach and ricotta tortellini. Adventurous and fun.
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