Published Mar 18, 2014Celebrating ten years as a musical collective, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars' fourth LP shows the group coming full circle and paying homage to their extraordinary beginnings. Titled Libation (the act of pouring liquid on to the ground in honour of deceased loved ones), this 12-track musical invocation for fallen band members and ancestors finds the band returning to the acoustic, campfire sound that defined their first album.
Produced by Montreal singer/songwriter Chris Velan (who recorded their debut as well), Libation, despite their best efforts to recapture that early primal energy, comes off as their most tame and tempered album to date. Decorated by bright hand drums, expertly executed soukous guitar and choral gang vocals, the songs that make up Libation (especially "Can't Make Me Lonely," "Ghana Baby" and "Maria") are structurally strong, offering the listener a compressed look into what they do best. But it's this consistent career referencing that makes Libation a very good and digestible album but also a forgettable one. (Cumbancha)