Ibibio Sound Machine is an excellent bit of Afro-electro, forged in London via Nigeria and combining funky highlife rhythms and horns with brash electro-synths. And you know what? It sounds addictively good and irresistibly groovy: supreme good time music! Uyai is the group’s second full-length album, and it’s released by Merge.
8/10 Jamie Staff review, 08 March 2017
The Ibibio Sound Machine is back, and what a welcome return! The grooves, the sun, the fun: all present and correct, and more vibrant than ever. However, while the new record sounds brighter, happier and more dance-orientated than their self-titled debut of three years ago, there are weighty subjects alighted upon here.
Launching into ‘Give Me a Reason’, singer Eno Williams is furious, spitting her words rapidly over bubbling waves of electro synth and bouncing bass. The song is about the still missing 276 girls abducted in northern Nigeria in 2014; distorted funk guitar coruscates through a mix peppered with defiantly tropical horns and percussion. The slower, sinewy ‘One That Lights Up’ is built around a powerful rhythm section, working a space for trumpet, fluttering flute, highlife guitar and happily farting sax. Dance to the pots and pans, beating out a joyous rhythm on ‘The Pot is on Fire’ -- you won’t care that you left the stove on a bit too long. ‘Joy’ has a post-punk feel to it, the tight bass and drums carrying the song along with synth bloops and horns punctuating triumphantly.
Tasty pop tunes with a West African flavour, carrying messages of empowerment, freedom and the liberation of dance. Uyai is a beauty.
8/10 Alan Customer review, 20th July 2017
This album really improves on their first. And their first was great. The songs are richer with more variety. A couple are quite beautiful. I'd highly recommend this band to anybody with ears really. It'll be interesting to see where Eno takes them next.
The electronica could jar but somehow they pull it off. Maybe the Casio keyboards are a novelty. Maybe they'll drop them for the next album. I know live that element is less having seem them play.
I would like to have seen an English translation of some of the songs though. The title hints at a story but who knows what it is.
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