Review - Love's a Real Thing: The Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa

Artist: Various Artists


This third release in Luaka Bop's "Psychedelic" series barely resembles the drug-tinged epics we have come to love and laugh at. Still, these '70s-era pop and soul sounds recorded in Mali, Gambia, Benin, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon burn down the house in totally unexpected ways. In tracks that are full of James Brown-like squeals, atmospheric wah-wah guitars and tremendously skittering drums one hears the unmistakable strains of the African diaspora brought back home. Psychedelic skronk-organ and saucy guitars fire No. 1 de No. 1 de Guinea's "Guajira Ven"; American and Chinese influences soar over a perky organ groove in Ofo & The Black Company's "Allah Wakbarr"; chicken-scratch guitars and a manic beat impel Gaspar Lawal's "Awon-Ojise-Oluwa" like a street band about to riot. Love's a Real Thing is an engrossing collection that sounds wonderfully naive and unmistakably dangerous.