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Fat Freddy's Drop

Based on a True Story

(Kartel; US: 14 Nov 2006; UK: 11 Jul 2005; N/A release date: 2 May 2005)

One day at work, a Kiwi colleague told us that he was going to play us something we’d like, and this was the album he put on. Whence his confidence? Well, Based on a True Story has done brilliantly, not only in its native New Zealand, where it has gone multi-platinum, but also overseas. In the UK, Gilles Peterson and Charlie Gillet hugged the Drop to their radiophonic bosoms, and Paris’ Radio Nova voted the group’s performance at Les Nuits Zebrees the best gig of 2005. Their reggae rhythm skips over the smoothness of their horns, and the whole thing is buttered with the soul-tone of Joe Dukie, whose voice slips along the edge of a falsetto without ever losing its unambiguous masculinity. (Dukie says that he was influenced by the work of Bill “Ain’t No Sunshine” Withers, and it’s safe to say that if you like Withers you’ll probably like B.O.A.T.S.) The album sounds like the work of a group that has a feeling for dramatic structure. It lures you in with a piano that knows more than it’s telling, follows that up with a strategic foghorn, and ends in a hum of R&B on “Hope”.  I wasn’t sure of B.O.A.T.S. when I heard it at work, but now that I’ve had a chance to concentrate on it at home, I can see why people have liked it so much. It’s a warm album that doesn’t confuse easygoing with slack.

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