Mr. Something Something The Edge

The Edge is a definite progression for Mr. Something Something. Last year’s debut album of this Toronto band presented some very nimble Afrobeat fronted by too-wordy vocals. This new album focuses the vocal contributions more while further modulating the rhythm attack. Right off the top, the percussion patterns are more involved. The percussion is composed of different sounds than are typically heard in Afrobeat, and a lot of care taken to harmonise the voices of each instrument. The guitar contributions are also more notable. The solo work uses unusual burnished tones which recall both highlife guitars and old keyboards such as the Rocksichord. They snake around the arrangements adding great harmonic and sonic punch. The horns are also punchier on this disc, partly because of the arrangements and partly because of the recording. The vocals are still not my favourite aspect of this band — I still get the sense that the leader would sound better doing arena rock — but the addition of female harmonies, and the effort made to integrate the vocals with the rhythms, and change up the vocal approach from song to song definitely helps matters. The final track "Jim Naa Ga Wey,” recorded in the cramped quarters of Toronto’s College Street Bar, is my favourite of the disc; the live recording has a certain abandon to it that elevates it to even greater heights. (Independent)