Yo Baba is a reggae-bhangra party album, at least that’s how it starts. Then the group mixes in some Latino pop, some multilingual rap, and you realise that their interests are broad, their influences various, their arms open. Seven tracks in there’s a song called “NO Leans”, a funky-bluesy thing in which the singer tells us that levees were destroyed to “wipe out all the people” because “disaster’s good for business / Down in New Orleans”. That flash of cynicism and murder cuts the album in half. The love song that comes afterwards can’t erase it. There’s something repellent in the suddenness of this juxtaposition, in death being acknowledged then summarily banished, replaced with smoochy missing-you lyrics, as lightly as a party trick. The album continues with more bouncy bhangra, a woman singing, a drumming track, everything fast, upbeat, happy, but the ghost of “NO Leans” hangs over it until the end.
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// Notes from the Road
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