Album Review: The Very Best / ‘MTMTMK’ (Moshi Moshi Records)


The Very Best continue their cross-cultural club demographic that runs African vocals (with English reinforcements) and traditional dance into drum machine booms, R&B jumps, whack-job electro licks and auto-tuned effects, managed successfully in a far from subtle integration of the indigenous and the ‘upfront’. In fact it’s pleasing how brash Esau Mwamwaya and Johan Hugo are, and how the fusion from the Radioclit protégées and Pitchfork headliners doesn’t dither when it comes to putting soothing calls to arms in the thick of the action. Aside from “Bantu” as the solitary mountain-top incantation mindful of upholding heritage from harm, it keeps on the gas pedal throughout, emitting colorful fumes as it goes.

Despite the bedrock of heavy bass, which sides more with booty bass and juke over the old style dub of “Mghetto” that you might be expecting, everything is cause for rejoice. “Kondaine” bounds like a Pixar character to infectiously cheesy riffs, “Moto” brings out euphoria like it’s the funkiest national anthem ever composed, and regardless of the language barrier, something tells you they’re not spouting clichés about how tonight is gonna be the time of your life because the world implodes tomorrow. With that commercial know-how also present (for better or worse – okay, bottles are popped on the remix of “Rudeboy”), the carnival of MTMTMK is worth checking for how to put twists on the popular.
File under: Spoek Mathambo, K’Naan, Buraka Som Sistema

Matt Oliver

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