Antibalas' new album, Security came out on Anti at the beginning of March. For those of you into any type of Afrobeat, it will be impossible not to like this album. It's everything Afrobeat should be: rhythmic, energetic, full of rough horn stabs, chugging guitar, organ, and the call and response that makes this kind of music feel as though the audience is just as much a part of the song as the performers. For an Afrobeat band not borrow from Fela would be impossible. In modern Afrobeat it's where the band steers Fela's music that makes them interesting. Bands like Antibalas and Nomo take the sound of Anikulapo into the internet age. Synthesizers, dissonant chords, and slick production can take away the raw aggressiveness that made the music so chaotic, beautiful, and powerful at the same time. But Antibalas' passion for their craft and their obvious musical prowess shine through on their albums and in their live show. Let's face it, there's never going to be another Fela, but as long as bands like Antibalas, I'll be pretty darn happy.
The first thing you notice about Security is the production. It's slick. Real slick, but real good. John McEntire produced the album and it's no surprise. It has the flavor of a Tortoise album, a band McEntire has produced. The drums seem to swoosh through the headphones and the music seems to be coming from every direction when you least expect it. The horns sneak up behind you, tap you on the shoulder, then run away to hide.
It's hard to keep my attention on a three minute pop song sometimes, but on the two ten minute plus songs, "Filibuster XXX" and "Sanctuary", Antibalas keeps your attention for every second. Perfect and simple melodies intertwine with a Farfisa-sounding organ and a beautiful collection of saxophones and trumpets. I love the sound of a baritone sax, and "Sanctuary" gives it to me for ten minutes. The updated sounds and production of the whole album make it sound exactly like it should: Fela Kuti for people living in 2007. And for that, I have but one thing to say: Go Antibalas, go. Go. Go. Go. Don't look back.