If the phrase “London-based jazz-funk-psychedelia musical collective” doesn’t have you looking around nervously for the nearest exit, you’re made of sterner stuff than I am. But whilst I approached A World of Masks somewhat in the manner of Theresa May encountering a member of the general public, after a couple of spins I found myself rather beguiled by its swampy, steamy, and occasionally spooky grooves.
Let’s get the very obvious point out of the way first so we can then dive into the album and enjoy ourselves: much of A World of Masks is badly, badly dated, to somewhere in the late 90s to be precise, that time when musicians who had completely misunderstood the point of Portishead and Massive Attack turned trip-hop into a vacuous lifestyle soundtrack for crappy hipster bars and, 20 years later, “chillout” (yuck) compilations curated for boutique hotel lobbies. The tracks featuring Slovakian singer Barbora Patkova, who gratingly affects a Beth Gibbons-style drawl, are the worst offenders and if I ever hear ‘Made of the Sun’ or ‘Oh Brother’ again it’ll be a million years too soon.
But when Patkova is subbed off and the band go instrumental they make a glorious, funky racket. ‘Human Zoo’ starts off as a baggy shuffle before turning into a spacey, dubby, horny (in every sense of the word) funk workout reminiscent of The Budos Band at their best. The epic 8-minute title track, and its somewhat briefer companion ‘Dawn Chorus’, are Bitches Brew/Bush of Ghosts-inspired stews of jazz, lounge and afrobeat. And, best of all, the closing two tracks – ‘Square Wave’ and ‘The Uncertainty Principle’ – veer off in the direction of Germany and suggest that there’s a brilliant Krautrock band in here struggling to make itself heard.
So whether you want to light up a fat one and nod out to some dirty, funky psychedelics, take a trip back to 1970s Germany, or party like it’s 1999, A World of Masks has you covered. Personally, it leaves me craving a little more focus.
A World Of Masks is out on 9th June through Soundway Records.
The post The Heliocentrics – A World of Masks (Soundway Records) appeared first on God Is In The TV.