Ibibio Sound Machine – Doko Mien

Sharper, brighter and filled with glorious horns.
Label: Merge Records
Released: 22nd March 2019
Rating: ★★★

Ibibio Sound Machine have become synonymous with funk-fuelled African sounds that can make the rustiest of hips move with reckless abandon; their latest LP ‘Doko Mien’ keeps up that trend of tracks that bring with them an instant hit of joy.

The band’s phenomenal live shows should be a hard thing to match on the record yet somehow that engrossing energy that comes with gazing up at them on stage is captured throughout.

There are a number of tender moments to ‘Doko Mien’, too. ‘I Will Run’ gives off a comforting warmth of support, breaking up the album with a two-minute injection of some dedicated care and attention many bands would struggle to offer up at the hardest of time.

At the heart of it all is a selection of funky bass grooves from Derrick McIntyre and Jose Joyette’s toe-tapping rhythms, with everything else stripped away, there would remain that joyous sense of potential for dance floor fillers and positive vibes.

But it is undoubtedly Eno Williams who steals the show with her dual-language vocals (flicking between English and Nigerian throughout) making speeches and telling stories that feel like they have the power to live on for eras to come.

Three full-lengths in and Ibibio Sound Machine are bringing with them the same youthful, adventurous spirit they always have done; now the songs are sharper, brighter and filled with glorious horns.

Ciaran Steward

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