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Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate

Faya

(Cumbancha; US: 18 Feb 2014; UK: 24 Feb 2014)

Sharp kora, good musicians, patient listener, all of us let down by a lot of paint-by-numbers stuffing. There’s some retrograde hootchikoo about a lady and somebody with no imagination boringly asserts that New York City matches their highest expectations of a metropolis. I would be a million times more interested if he had stood up and said, You know what, I’m endlessly stimulated by Bullhead City, Arizona, and here’s why. That would be a lyricist who was up for a challenge.


But no, he likes New York, the jerk. Even Kouyate’s ferris wheel riffs have been done before, or at least something so close to them that they sound like a technically accomplished echo. The original moments suffer by proximity. After “Lady” it’s hard to believe that anyone is sincere about anything. Well, a line about 9/11 makes an impact. (Ibibio Sound Machine has been teaching me the value of idiosyncrasy.) Excitement and speed is OK, but the whole thing seems so hollow.

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