added: 8 Jun 2014
// release date: 22 May 2014 // label:
reviewer: Daniel Davidson-Amadi
Woah! I'm still coming to terms with what I've just listened to! Mangoseed describe themselves as a world fusion band, but they needn't do so as this stylistic take is hammered home from track one. Based in my current locale of South London, Mangoseed are bringing something that is as indefinably unique as alternative music comes with their latest full-length album, 'Basquiat'. The London quartet is a personification of the cultural diversity of their own music with each member hailing from a different country that has undoubtedly added another colourful piece to an already intriguing mosaic of musicianship.
The songs utilise the classic sincerity of the reggae genre to perform forthright, meaningful messages, spiced up with funk, tinted with grunge and modernised using sweeping synthesis. Because of the complexity of the compositions, you are put through a labyrinth of emotions and thoughts but 'Basquiat' is still faithfully entertaining.
Mangoseed utilise the lyricism and that wailing style of vocalisation synonymous with the Caribbean genres over spiky guitars – it's like a Rage Against The Machine/Bob Marley mash-up that some talented Bandcamp DJ has thrown together.
The band have a large sound; larger than typical reggae which may seem like incompatible complication but Mangoseed have obviously taken extensive hours in the studio cultivating it, mastering it then producing this baby right here! Every instrument, sound, effect and tweak is complimentary, taking us on an odyssey of acoustic and digital orchestration.
Importantly, 'Basquiat' changes lilt through tempo. 'Rise and Shine' is a sterling example of how less is more to a sleepy pace, with daydreamy strings that mimic the good vibes one experiences when sunlight hits your face whilst you're still hypnogogic. 'Lioness' has funky basses and a rowdiness that underlines the songs raunchiness and 'Careful' utilises gear changes that make it one of the most ballsy and experimental tracks on the album. All in all, superb album!
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