Published Mar 19, 2019Sure, British Afrobeat band Ibibio Sound Machine's new LP, Doko Mien, has boisterous tracks that'll compel you to move. But it's the quietest of those songs that will move you to tears.
An eye in the storm of vibrant synths, break beats and pulse-pounding horn blasts, "I Will Run," (the fifth of this LP's 11 tracks) is mostly comprised of a sparse, soothing synth riff. Frontwoman Eno Williams also dials things down, at least lyrically, repeating a single line again and again through the brief running time. However, the gifted singer fills that void with aplomb by hitting high notes and holding them until they sear.
It's also fun to know that the band have such a wide range in terms of tone and tempo. Fans of the unique Afrobeat, disco and jazz blend that Ibibio Sound Machine honed on their preceding albums won't be disappointed by upbeat new Doko Mien songs like the funky "Wanna Come Down," or the steadily escalating "I Need You to Be Sweet Like Sugar." Meanwhile, the fist-pump-worthy title track and the propulsive, disco-inclined "She Work Very Hard" are enthralling girl power anthems.
As if all that wasn't impressive enough, Williams continues to successfully lace the band's music with her African heritage. Yes, most of us listeners won't understand the Nigerian Ibibio language lyrics that she assuredly bellows and purrs on grooving songs like "Nyak Mien," or "Kuka." But Williams' masterful delivery, not to mention the band's deft playing, more than get the point across throughout this fantastic album. (Merge)