The Fontanelles – Horns Of Freedom (First Word)
LP/ CD/ DL
Afrobeat fusion band, The Fontanelles, unleash their debut album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates has a listen.
Ever wondered what a PigBag/James Brown/Los Chinches supergroup would sound like? No, me neither, but if you ever do find yourself awake at night pondering that thought, then give The Fontanelles a listen and your curiosity will be quenched.
Formed as the backing band for Fela! The Musical when it was on its London stint, the ten-piece’s relationship and natural chemistry demanded that they stay together and carry on performing – thankfully.
The Fontanelles have certainly created a great sound – mixing ska, jazz and reggae on an afrobeat base. The energy is high and the musicianship superb.
Album opener, Gaia’s Revenge, blasts the album straight into view with its clear jazz influences, and the horns – so prevalent throughout the album – are powerful and precise. Afrocat incorprates touches of dub and continues the furious pace.
The recent single, Criminality, introduces American funk influences and again the horn sound and instrumentation is frenetic. To see The Fontanelles live must be an experience to behold.
The tempo slows down to a sleepy groove for The Wave and Project 31 before picking up again for the title track and album closer.
It’s nice to hear a non-vocal album that never gets boring and Horns Of Freedom remains interesting and engaging to the end. If there’s a downside, it’s that there are just eight tracks, but given the quality on show it’s an inconsequential fact that’s easily overlooked.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.