WHO ARE THEY? A unique, shapeshifting musical collective — launched by Blur/Gorillaz/The Good, The Bad & The Queen frontman Damon Albarn in 2013 — that unites African artists with Western performers like Albarn, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner and Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys.
WHAT IS THIS? Their fourth full-length set of intercontinental musical alchemy.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Despite the presence of Albarn and co., this is very much an African album, with all the deep, hypnotic rhythms and kitschy electronics you expect — tempered with just enough pop-rock sound, style and substance to broaden its appeal.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Blurring Lines.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On repeat — if only to use the 67-minute album to replicate the band’s five-hour live shows.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Multicultural, groovy, earthy, experimental, freewheeling, intoxicating, mellow, hedonistic, vibrant, eclectic.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? If you’re here for Albarn and Rhys, start with the subdued Johannesburg, the funky Become the Tiger, the folksy Taranau and the disco understatement I Can’t Move. But don’t stop there; the entire 18-track album is one long dance-party.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Five hours might be a bit much, but this is just right.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? If you’re a fan of African music, you’ll definitely want to spend some time with it.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A GOVERNMENT AGENCY, WHAT KIND OF AGENCY WOULD IT BE? A UN cultural subcommittee.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? You’ll get more than your money’s worth.