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Here’s the ultimate zombie test: Take a listen to the Occidental Brothers’ cover of “Bizarre Love Triangle” on the group’s latest effort, Odo Sanbra. If you don’t find yourself at least nodding your head or tapping your foot, then it’s likely you are indeed a zombie and can proceed to the eating of brains. No, on second thought, even a zombie could get down to the intoxicatingly danceable Afro-pop stylings on Odo Sanbra.


Picking up where the band’s excellent self-titled debut left off, Odo Sanbra finds Occidental Brothers deftly melding rock and jazz with traditional African music to cook up a delectable pop stew. Album-opener “Nyenko!” would sound at home on the soundtrack to your Caribbean vacation, with stellar conga work provided by Yao Osofui and Asamoah Rambo. The aforementioned New Order cover is a sure highlight. And “Mafiwo” and “Odo Bra Wawawa”, which feature the group’s best asset, vocalist Kofi Cromwell crooning tenderly in a language of his native Ghana, are downright blissful. The rest of Odo Sanbra is equally fun and infectious. Indie pop phenom Andrew Bird provides playful violin on two tracks and band founder Nathaniel Braddock lays down some funky guitar riffs throughout. This album is highly recommended for humans and zombies alike.

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Michael Kabran's work has appeared in Washington City Paper, JazzTimes, Harp, The Gazette of Politics and Business, and NPR's Next Generation Radio. As a musician, he has performed with numerous jazz, classical, and pop groups, including the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic.


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