25th May 2015 marks the release of 'Food Chain', the brand new album from contemporary Afrobeat trailblazers and firm festival favourites London Afrobeat Collective. Having been at the forefront of London's live music circuit and attracting a plethora of international bookings following theirself titled debut L.A.C, the 10 piece collective set out to encapsulate the energy generated during their live performances and combine this with a newlyevolved songwriting ability and refined musical prowess.
'Food Chain' is without doubt the band's best work to date, representing a new level of discipline for the group, keeping true to the original principles of the Afrobeat movement and paving the way for its future as a unique and exciting genre to be heard and enjoyed globally.
Produced by Leon Brichard (Ibibio Sound Machine, Plan B, Fela! the musical) with graphic design by prolific artist Ben Hito (George Clinton/Parliament/Funkadelic) 'Food Chain' is an album of anthemic songs with socially conscious lyrics, set to bold brass lines and hypnotic danceable grooves.
Since Michael Eavis invited London Afrobeat Collective to open the West Holts (formerly the Jazz World Stage) at Glastonbury, the band are now a highlight of the British summer music calendar having staged highly acclaimed performances at Bestival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Secret Garden Party, Boomtown Fair, Green Man, Standon Calling, Wilderness and many more. The group also appeared with No. 1 albumselling band Bombay Bicycle Club for main stage performances at Bestival, Latitude, Reading, Glastonbury and Brixton Academy.
Their eponymous debut album, successive single releases and remixes have been supported and endorsed by the likes of Questlove (band leader of the Roots) on 'OkayAfrica' and BBC Radio 6 Music's Craig Charles Funk and Soul show. The band have also performed live on Radio 4's 'Loose Ends' programme presented by Clive Anderson and have earned rave reviews in the national press including The Guardian and Time Out.
The band have also recently confirmed a tour of Nigeria, where they will play four shows across the country as part of the annual 'Felebration' festival.
'Food Chain' cements London Afrobeat Collective's reputation as one of the most unique and exciting bands in the UK today, having created a highly accomplished work with international flair that's culturally relevant from London to Lagos.
Afrobeat is one of the great party sounds, and in recent years in terms of UK bands best influenced by the traditions of Fela Kuti a number of outfits, chief among them, Soothsayers have set the bar high, appealing to both African music and jazz fans alike.Joining Soothsayers in terms of quality yet delivering a slightly more orthodox approach are the London Afrobeat Collective who return five years on from the release of their self-titled debut.
Sticking close to the core Afrobeat sound in their harnessing of that pulsating vital wave of beat-heavy infectious grooving, a siren call for dancers, the Collective have made some line-up changes and now is looking like: singer Funke Adeleke, a forceful presence who also provides most of the socially and politically-charged lyrics plus guitarists Alex Farrell and Alex Szyjanowicz, trumpeter Andy Watts, saxophonists Edmund Swinburn and Klibens Michelet, conga player Lee Crisp, percussionist Zak Cohen, bass guitarist John Mathews and drummer Farivar Gorjian.
Food Chain is a well-recorded studio album produced by Leon Brichard from the Fontanelles bookended by ‘Celebrity Culture’ and ‘Prime Minister’ the latter which, as a single, has already received the remix treatment. A lively dancey affair which I think would be far better experienced live, the lack of development beyond the strictness of the core sound more of an issue listening on record than in a live setting. The style certainly doesn’t allow for a huge amount of improvisation beyond the set patterns and I think for jazz fans this may be a factor. However, the band display plenty of skill and joy in the execution of the collectively-written material and that’s more than enough to make this all a very satisfying listen.