‘We Don Land’ by Afro Cluster (EP)
On their brand new EP, this nine-piece Afro-funk act announce their rebirth with some highly polished and politically conscious grooves
The first release of a revitalised ensemble (November single Basic Questions was recorded before the current band came together), We Don Land is neatly focussed in both sound and intent. Well-hewn grooves and clever lyrical turns convey the themes of empowerment and distaste for greed that characterise this EP, and their nine-part line-up is deployed generously without allowing arrangements to become too saturated.
Lead single Love Thing flows well out of an introductory instrumental, with a similar beat making it feel like the main course to First Rite’s appetiser. A one-bar clavinet loop underpins one of the EP’s many fine horn hooks, which, alternating with a tonally ascending rock figure, is fleetingly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s Trampled Underfoot. In the verses, lead singer Skunkadelic becomes the sonic focal point, reflecting live shows where he is more an MC than a vocalist.
The latter three songs are each more compact than Love Thing, which is just a touch on the lengthy side at nearly five-and-a-half minutes. Double Trouble is the best of the set, showcasing the individual talents of the band with tight grooves in the rhythm section, memorable tunes in the horns and, in the foreground, Skunkadelic’s rapping alongside turntable wizardry from DJ Veto.
We Don Land is a highly enjoyable record that is infectious, funky and ripe with political awareness. The last song, Access Denied, is the only slight disappointment of a very satisfying, if touch overproduced, EP, with the final 90 seconds losing momentum and leaving you hungry for a decent resolution. Our advice is that you stick on old single They Don’t Know to balance the energy of Love Thing and Double Trouble, giving We Don Land the ending it deserves.
Verdict: Tight, funky grooviness