[5 May 2010]
“What,” you’re wondering, “would it be like if I took that mid-century Kinshasa sound and put a psych-rock guitar solo in the middle?” Amanaz called it “Nsunka Lwendo”, but it’s a footnote in this album, not the main event. The main event is a Zambian recreation of late 1960s UK psych, sweet and buzzy, with less of the Central or Southern African sound, more of the British. Zambia was part of Rhodesia until 1964, a British colonial possession, and one of the conclusions an outsider can draw from an album like Africa, a reissue of a 1975 LP, is that the coloniser’s records must have continued to flow into the country even after independence. The tone is a mixture of strength and uncertainty. Mellow “Sunday Morning” starts firmly and ends abruptly, as if the musicians have been called away without warning to answer the phone, and Keith Kebwe’s voice sometimes wobbles. But when he’s at his most confident, as he is on “Easy Street”, he has the snatch-and-grab jerk of Mick Jagger.