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Music Album reviews with Michal Boncza

Twist The Lens
(Electric Moth Records)

IF YOU like your rock’n’roll hale and hearty yet sophisticated, look no further than the new release by this awesome Kansas quartet. The six-year wait had been well worth it and the album does to the soul what a Missouri bourbon does to the palate.

The core trio of guitarist and singer Mike Allmayer, bassist Matt Kesler and drummer Rob Morrow, along with  co-opted guitarist Cody Wyoming, went to work under the watchful eye of former band member Paul Malinowski.

These are old masters at work, delivering intuitive, melodic harmonies with razor-sharp precision in tight instrumental combinations that vary with each song.

Allmayer’s voice has great range, impressive candour and warmth, blending symbiotically with the instruments, and the guitar work astonishes, particularly Wyoming’s. He conjures sumptuous and  elegantly measured riffs on each of the tracks.

Pure rock nirvana, believe you me.

TKMF: This Machine Kills Fascists
(TKMF Music)

THIS septet from Lowestoft in Suffolk borrowed their name from the inscription on the guitar of legendary US communist folk singer Woody Guthrie and took its message to heart.

In May, they outraged the good Ukip folk of their hometown when their gig in a local pub — The Socialist Republic of Stanford Arms — was advertised with the line “Get ready to punch a nazi in the face…” Predictably, the police were called to mediate.

Lead singer Roop Murphy explained that the song was inspired by a US neonazi being punched by a bystander in an internet clip. Fair enough.

With songs like Kill The Fascists, Liberal Lefty, England Uber Alles and Die For Us, there is enough to keep those on future barricades in high spirits.

A raucous mixture of ska, reggae and punk, TKMF’s irreverent attitude can’t mask their perceptive political observation.

Fantastic debut.

Various Artists
Mogadisco: Dancing Mogadishu (1972-90)
(Analog Africa)

THIS musical-curio collection was stumbled upon by Samy Ben Redjeb, the peripatetic German founder of Analog Africa. In what resembled a quest by Indiana Jones, he was accompanied everywhere by Kalashnikov-toting security personnel.

He chanced on a treasure trove of old cassettes and discarded master reels in the building of Radio Mogadishu. They are “mainly instrumental and strange music,” said archivist Colonel Abshir Hashi Ali, awakening Redjeb’s curiosity.

The result is this album, an endearing musical time capsule and touching testimony to vibrant local creativity, fuelled by influences ranging from Fela Kuti to Santana and Bob Marley. Reggae, akin to Dhaanto beats from western Somalia, was a particularly good fit.

Dur Dur Band, Iftin Band or Mukhtar Ramadan Iidi’s music reflects the aspirations of the time. It’s  a worthy heritage that has now been preserved for future generations.


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