By Chris Pacifico
Aside from the Brazilian Girls, there's probably no other Brooklyn band that embodies and embraces the cultural melting pot of New York City's five boroughs better than Antibalas. At their deliriously funky live performances one finds an eclectic smorgasbord of fans, listeners from different scenes, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds. Antibalas' bombastic cannonade of horns and polyrhythmic beats proves that music will always be a barrier breaking common language for the people of the world.
Sure, some are quick to point out the Fela Kuti vibe, but Afrobeat is only the foundation of Antibalas' sonic dynamic. Security finds this 14-member plus collective grooving on a wave of Latin, calypso, reggae, salsa, juju, world jazz, Middle Eastern accents, and a whole lot more to create a simmering cauldron of spicy world stew.
Security's opening salvo, "Beaten Metal," is a thunderous array of clanking tremors and guitar riffs, while "Filibuster XXX" is evocative of a car chase scene from a '70s Blaxploitation flick with a meringue sizzle and a lashing Farfisa organ. Frontman Duke Amayo ponders what GOP stands for ("greedy old people," "gas, oil and petroleum," "guilty of perjury"). "Hilo" is funky, shadowy, and exotic. "I.C.E." is an album highlight that starts out like soundtrack composers John Barry or Lalo Schifrin writing for a cock fight scene in the back room of a Bushwick bodega at 3 a.m. before descending into an ambient, psychedelic flurry straight out of a 19th century opium den.
If you happen to suffer from any sort of arthritis, neck, knee, ankle, back, joint, muscle, or bone pain, Security could worsen these conditions from all the dancing for which it surely induce. People will need to soak in a mineral bath for days after listening.
Last spring while interviewing Gogol Bordello for JamBase, their colorful frontman Eugene Hutz proclaimed his love of music from all over the world yet managed to chide those who describe it as "world music." Hutz says, "How is Rachid Taha any different from the Clash?" It stuck with me. While Antibalas is mostly instrumental, their tracks are potently political. They don't rely on words because the pure, vibrant music embodies the turbulence and friction of modern times, truly living up to Fela's idea of "music as a weapon."
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