. issue XXII : i .
Afrobeat is popular all over the world these days, and Australia is no exception; in the last few years, we’ve heard a bunch of fine Aussie Afrobeat combos: the Shaolin Afronauts, Public Opinion Afro Orchestra and the Afrobiotics. Add The Liberators to that list. This is the second album for the Sydney-based 10-piece band, and it’s smoking. The Liberators share a number of members with world-class funk band Dojo Cuts, and Dojo lead singer Roxie Ray provides the only vocal here on “Water Somewhere.” Other than that, it’s an all-instrumental session with short songs by Afrobeat standards (none longer than 6:05), many featuring sour, pentatonic, almost Ethiopian melodies. In these three aspects, The Liberators sound quite a bit like the Budos Band. Another major influence is Antibalas: you can hear them in Colin Ho’s Ticklah-like trippy organ swirls and stabs (check out the beginnings of “Cairo Uprising” and “Dos Caras”) and see them in the explicitly political song titles. Antibalas’ Martin Perna and Amayo are big fans, and with good reason: this is top-shelf 21st century Afrobeat, definitely worth your time.