Security (Anti)

Afrobeat is an often imitated musical form, but few bands approach it with the respect and creativity that Brooklyn's Antibalas has over the years. When the band was created nearly a decade ago, its music picked up where the genre's architects, Fela Kuti and his son Femi, respectively, left off — taking the roots of Afrobeat and tweaking them for a Latin/indie audience. There's nothing wrong with that new approach, but Antibalas (whose name derives from "bulletproof" in Spanish) certainly couldn't make a career out of it. So it's no surprise that on its newest album, Security, the group is noticeably branching out and exploring a darker sound, while incorporating a tapestry of Latin jazz, funk, classical, and soul into its horn-driven mix. The song "Filibuster X," possibly the album's strongest track, is a rolling, Nigerian-tinged fuck-you to global politricks, strong both in its lyricism and poignant Afrobeat rhythms. On tunes like "Age," the band makes good use of its orchestra-size arrangement, with rolling drum patterns tucked underneath baby-soft horns, astral guitar riffs, and delicate organ accompaniment. With a dozen members in its mix, Antibalas is also able to pull off such a complex amalgamation of polyrhythms and have enough instrumentation on hand not to rely on electronics. Long-time Tortoise and Stereolab producer John McEntire was brought onboard to help round out the group's sound, and the finished product is a hip album that clangs like Brooklyn, Lagos, and Mexico City all at once.

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