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Fronted by British/Nigerian vocalist Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine combine, so says their press release, "elements of West African highlife, disco, & psychedelic electro soul". On this occasion my quote marks aren't sarcastic, that's a pretty good description of what they do. It sounds like quite a Londonised take on Highlife, if that makes sense; crisp, hard disco beats, housey synths, guitar, bass and brass all used quite sparingly and Eno's distinctive vocals over the top.
I just got to 'Let's Dance' and I'm sure I've heard this song somewhere before. Or is it just so catchy that I think I have? The synths are total '80s electro but quite subtle with a nice buzzy little synth bassline and casual kind of half-rapped, half-sung vocals. It's pretty irresistible. The guitar finally gets a proper workout on 'Uwa the Peacock' too with a trebly reverbed sound and nimble little melodies that remind me of Victor Uwaifo.
It's a really enjoyable life, Williams is a born frontwoman with a soulful and likeable voice and her band take in influences from disco to funk to highlife to dub to dancehall to jazz without breaking a sweat. The whole thing's really easygoing and danceable and a very positive note to round off a long day's reviewing. My thumb is up.
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