As its simple title would suggest, the fifth album from the Brooklyn Afrobeat torchbearers gets back to basics. Their last release, 2007's Security, pushed the band outside their comfort zone, incorporating elements of electronica, hip-hop, and other things beyond the Fela Kuti bailiwick. It was pretty thrilling, actually. But this is thrilling, too: reunited with producer Gabriel Roth (Daptone head honcho, Dap-Kings member) and coming off a gig as band for the Broadway musical FELA!, Antibalas grooves hard and lean on the kind of tunes they know best, and play the baddest. Here are six tracks of unrelenting pulse, ass-shaking brass, and sociopolitical musings, the kind of rhythmically incendiary stuff that is the musical equivalent of a really, really long-burning fuse. Stripped down to a bare, live-band essence, and with the old-school touch of Roth/Daptone, Antibalas go places by simply playing it safe. The saxophone coloring outside the rigid lines in "The Ratcatcher," the polyrhythms and countermelodies in "Him Belly No Go Sweet," the conversation of guitar and percussion in "Ari Degbe," and the party atmosphere of "Sáré Kon Kon" all relate the same truism: innovation ain't got nothing on a solid groove.
ANTIBALAS | The Paradise, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | September 20 @ 8 pm | 18+ | $20 | 617.562.8800