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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