C4 / Universal - 2006
|After the inspiring afrobeat of their 2004 debut Kif Kif, Montreal octet Afrodizz have unsaddled themselves from the crushing yoke of Fela Kuti, opting instead for a hybrid of afrobeat, funk and acid jazz on their follow-up Froots. Pared down to mere songs - most are in the four to six-minute range - the tracks here eschew the powerfully hypnotic juju rhythms and extended sax and trumpet solos of trad afrobeat, nailing home the message with pointed, but occasionally clumsy, vocals.
That said, the disc is rife with pounding, liberating rhythms, further buttressed by Francois Glidden's burly baritone sax. The lead video 'Yadsa' (alas, nobody releases singles here anymore, so why pretend otherwise) is a ferocious assault, where the listener is pummelled with Afrodizz's superb horn section. Ditto for 'Start', where chief songwriter Gabriel Aldama slips in some abrasive guitar chords, recalling the inchoate textures of Fela's London Scene. 'Fashion Terroriste' is especially inventive, as guest vocalist Frank Maras melds some sultry Gainsbourg-esque vocals (en francais) into the mix. When the music finally finds the space to breathe, as on the languid 11-minute 'Bombe', saxophonist Frede Simard and Glidden offer up some crisp solos, but are ultimately edged out by those darned vocals.
Dundas Square - Toronto, On
La Fin du Monde
The Good, the Bad and the Cuddly
Black Ox Orkestar
Swift Feet for Troubling Times