Black Flower – Abyssinia Afterlife (Album Review)

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Let me lay my stall out very early doors – this is a blisteringly good album. From the first whispery tones of the sax on album opener Solar Eclipse to the title track closer’s wavy surreality, Abyssinia Afterlife packs in everything good from afrobeat, jazz, funk, ethiojazz and more to lift it way beyond. The Belgian band recorded the album in Ghent at the start of last year but it finally releases in the UK this Friday (28th August) via Zephyrus Music and De Werf Records.

Solar Eclipse’s groove at the start is elephantine, swaggering and a little staggering with spirals of cornet coming from ex-Beck and dEUS cohort Jon Birdsong that dual with the band’s composer Natham Daems’ sax. In fact, the track is a perfect showcase for five-piece band’s brilliant musicianship – rumbling, groove-locked bass from Filip Vandebril, rolling tight drumming from Simon Segers and stabbing, swirling psychedelic keys from Wouter Haest.

I’ve played this album over and over again since I got hold of it a few weeks ago and first spun I Threw A Lemon At That Girl on the radio shortly after as it has a real immediacy and danceability but I’m now jumping around the album as I can’t decide which is my favourite track. This week it’s Again I Lost It as I just love the sound and the groove the keys have from the get go. Next week, who knows?

For me it’s got all the key ingredients that a classic album needs. There’s tracks that you can dance to, tracks that can warp your mind or your thinking, there’s darkness, danger and even humour to it. All this from nine tracks of instrumental music.

You can get hold if it via Black Flower’s Bandcamp on download, CD and vinyl. I’m hoping I have enough spare cash on payday to make it before the 100 wax wonders disappear. They are touring the UK for the first time between 10th and 13th September calling at Bristol, Oxford, London and Manchester. Yes Island folk it’s Bestival weekend…let’s harass Rob Da Bank into a late booking shall we?

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