new music: the afrorockerz mix afrobeat with funk and new wave for a sound like nothing else on debut lp #soundcheck

October 3, 2014

On their debut EP, Paris collective The Afrorockerz interjected Afrobeat sounds with funk, psychedelia, and post-punk energy. It was like an ode to the most iconoclastic dance music of the late 70’s. So it’s fitting on their debut full length, that they’d shift the influences up a few years. Naturally, the love for Fela is still there, but here it’s merged with tinges of Prince synth squiggles and Talking Heads left field grooves. Yet despite those retro signifiers, The Afrorockerz still manages to sound fresh.

Words by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

“I Go U Go” play the band’s Afrobeat roots more or less straight, but with a warm analog synth line where the massive horn section should be. Singer Emma Lamadji handles the bulk of the vocals with Allonymous only adding a few backup lines in support. By the time the band hits “Looking For Change,” the dueling vocals that epitomizes the band are out in full swing. The grimy analog synths take more of a center stage, sounding less like a novel affectation, as they do in “I Go U Go,” and more like the point. By “Hearts & Lines,” it’s abundantly clear that The Afrockerz are the rare band that’s at their best when they’re at their weirdest. A massive jam that reclaims the beats Paul Simon mined during his 80’s solo peak, Allonymous’ spoken word trades usual dance partner Emma Lamadji for Maxime Zampieri’s slinky bass.

On “For This,” the band makes the social justice bent of “Looking For Change” explicit. Accompanied by a funky bass line and a bee sting synth line, the band proves Fela Kuti’s central musical thesis: there is no better platform for social messaging in music than atop a killer dance beat. The Afrorockerz stretch out in the closing tracks “U Need Me” and “My Prayer.” The songs reintroduce the psychedelia of their debut EP to fantastic results. This is a band that thrives not in manic energy, but in the wide open spaces between the beats.

The Afrorockers is out now in Europe, and will be coming to the US soon. Pre-order it now here.