Just dropped from Benin City, video by Charlie Behrens and free downloads of new single My Love:
A….song…..a….poem…. from the slow-build-electro-bass opening, creeping up an exponentially rising pop-electro curve, Joshua Idehen’s soul-poetry cry is calling up somewhere in the recesses of my mind the husky intensity of Prince’s intro to Let’s Go Crazy (Is that crazy? Is this funk-pop? It’s definitely funky.) And just as it takes us right up there, they lay on a pop climax and they’re done with us. Short, sharp, bitter-sweet.
I’ve been looking forward to word of the forthcoming debut album from this London trio for a little while now, being a fan of what I’ve heard from Joshua before, and of the unique sound of the “electro brass” of Benin City. This is promising!
Of the three, Paper Tiger’s works best for me, taking the song further into afrobeat territory, introducing some funky brasslines and interesting layers. Nicolaas Van Reenen’s remix is moody and spacious electro, nice, not as beautiful as his best tracks. The Dan Le Sac remix layers a beat across the top that, for me, masks the emotion..
..What is going to stick with me after all is the ‘radio edit’, this video version. It’s the simple increasing, intensifying musical arc which best suits this call from Joshua, in my mind. It’s Benin City at their unique best, when they make you struggle with music’s ‘labels’ – is it funk? pop? electro? funk-pop-electro-afro-brass? Don’t worry about clumsy attempts at labelling. What’s important is that Benin City are making the spoken word/music fusion work in an effortless, dare I say it populist, way. Which is a good thing for poetry, especially danceable poetry!
The remixes are being offered up as free downloads from the band’s website.
The album, Fires In The Park, is out this June. Check in at www.wearebenincity.com for updates.