Afrodizz Kif Kif

It doesn’t take long to figure out that the influence of Nigerian Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti looms large over this Montreal-based eight-piece band. Yet this group is not merely attempting to be a cover band. While the group has obviously harnessed the power of the hypnotic grooves so central to the music, they also do allow for the musicians to break away from structural rigidity. Soloists in the group’s brass section are given room to breathe and are challenged by the other musicians who steadily ratchet up the intensity. Vocalist Vance Payne weaves in and out of the mix, but he is elevated front and centre when he delivers his impassioned soulful performance on the standout "No Time.” While the lyrical focus on this track and the others here occasionally addresses collective issues, in general they are not overtly political. The focus seems to be on nailing the groove and the frenetic pace of the first half of this album certainly does just that. While the group admirably does show their versatility by experimenting with more stripped-down and subdued efforts in the album’s latter stages, it unfortunately works against them as no track on this album is shorter than seven minutes and it’s this part of the album that you really begin to notice. Still, Afrodizz’s obviously reverent dedication to preserving aspects of Afrobeat tradition, while incorporating their own style, should serve to bolster their relevance in the current revival of bands making this music. (Do Right!)