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Peru Bravo: Funk, Soul & Psych From Peru’s Radical Decade (Album review)

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If I had my way then there would be a law against anything remotely Christmas-related being allowed before mid-November. Unfortunately I am guilty of gross hypocrisy this year as I’ve got an ever-expanding list of vinyl I’d like in my (square-shaped) stocking. New to that list is the latest compilation from Tiger’s Milk Records – Peru Bravo: Funk, Soul & Psych From Peru’s Radical Decade. It’s an absolute belter that shows yet another area of the world with a rich heritage of fine music.

I’ve always liked Peru ever since my grandfather brought me back an excellent hat from there during his travels in the 80s. Limited headgear aside, I’ve got very little other knowledge of this country so it was with great interest that I approached this album initially.  The politics of South America read as the usual depressing tale of corruption, aggressive infiltration by other powerful governments and violence; Peru is no exception to this but the period Peru Bravo looks back on was an era pre-dating the takeover of a right wing military regime. The album presents this as a time when a large collection of Peruvian musicians were delving into the sounds of more experimental side of the late 60s/early 70s.

One of first things I found note worthy was the quality of these recordings. For the most part they are very well balanced and sound more like a modern take on beat and psychedelia than a collection of recordings from decades ago. At the same time this collection of songs gives a real feeling of the excitement and promise that Peru had at the time before the darkness fell.

My desperation for the vinyl experience of this album stems from the imminent danceability of so much of this music. This high-energy of Black Sugar’s Checan, the latin boogie twister of Traffic Sound’s La Camita or Los Comandos’ El Sermon three such examples. It all just feels ripe for party action but having said that I’ve listened to this in several different settings and it’s worked every time. In my experience, an album that you listen to and feel instantly at home with is one that is going to stay with you for a long time.

Peru Bravo is out now on Tiger’s Milk Records as a beautiful gatefold vinyl with free download card or on CD or download. If you don’t buy it direct from them, try and use an idependent record shop not the tax-avoiding megacorps. Ta.

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