Lagos by Bus


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Lagos by Bus Review

by Chris Nickson

San Francisco goes to Africa with Aphrodesia, and for the most part it's an exciting trip. This is a band with a very obvious love of African music, especially highlife and Afrobeat, with a nod to the Shona traditions of Zimbabwe. But, and this has to be a big but, they never quite achieve the flow which is so much a part of the musics they're looking to. The closest they come is on "Bus Driver," where they do swing sensationally, churning up a tremendous groove that gives the indication they'd be a blast in concert. However, that excitement and spontaneity never fully make it onto disc, although "World Under Fire" and "Every Day" give strong hints as to their abilities (notably, the three tracks mentioned are the longest on the album, where they have a chance to stretch out properly). The parts do interlock to build a greater whole, but it's impossible not to feel that they need an outside pair of objective ears in the producer's chair to help them make the most of their talents. There's certainly a lot here that interesting, from the vocal harmonies to the convincing highlife feel. Breaking down barriers and going global is never easy, and the band is making good, strong steps. There's plenty that's right with this album, but still lots of room for improvement. Next time should be inspiring listening.

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