Batucada Sound Machine: Rhythm & Rhyme (Border)

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Batucada Sound Machine: Rivers of Rhyme
Batucada Sound Machine: Rhythm & Rhyme (Border)

The first album by this big and boisterous band was a live outing recorded at Womad in 2005. It didn't do it for me and was one of those "guess you had to be there" albums.

But it was clear that aside from energy and enthusiasm (which they had by truckloads) they certainly had some musical chops and their set sounded like an implosion of various South American and Cuban musics with reggae, some kapa haka consciousness, a smattering of rock and Afrobeat, and a whole lot else.

This new album -- produced by Neil Sparkes who did the job for one of my favourite groups, TransGlobal Underground -- covers much the same territory as that debut (they revisit most of that live set) but while it still fires off in scattergun directions there is a studio tightness and maturity evident.

That doesn't dampen their infectious enthusiasm and with this big and busy ensemble you sometimes get the feeling that everyone is jostling for airtime (and they have guests! Che Fu, Kevin Field and Lewis McCallum pop up).

But their energy is engaging this time out and while they have a kind of ADHD approach to melodies within the same piece -- oh now they are black funk, oh now they are Aotearoa reggae etc -- you cannot deny their accumulated fire-power. Festival headliners sooner rather than later is my guess: and with barbecue season almost on us they will be getting their time in the sun at my place, that's for sure.

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