Femi Kuti is back once more with his personal interpretation of Afrobeat, the style founded by his late father, Fela Kuti. The album contains a few songs that were on his Live at the Shrine DVD and a host of new songs that he's been playing live the last few years. This album was recorded in the Decca studio's in Lagos, Nigeria. A studio where his legendary father recorded no less legendary songs like "Sorrow, Tears and Blood" and "ITT". As you can guess the Decca studios aren't quite on the level of the high tech studios in Paris or London. It gives the album a bit of a "one-dimensional" sound that reminds us a bit of his father's work, which isn't a bad thing either way. But the album was purposely recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, as the city has an energy of its own (and I'm not speaking about the electricity network that fails the people almost every day). So one thing that stands out on this album is the energy. In fact the energy and intention are so persuasive that it leaves no room for melancholy or sentimentalism. This album is the closest you can get to Femi's superhot live performances and you could call it "a live album from the studio".
While Fela could write sax solo's as long as the trans-American Highway and Femi is an outstanding sax player in his own right, there are only two short solo's (one sax and one guitar) on this whole album. This leads me to think that the pan-African message is all important. The traditional African "call and answer" with Femi's back-up singers is totally back and used on each and every song and reinforces that Pan-African emphasis of the album. Africa for Africa is the Afrobeat equivalent of Bob Marley's " Survival" or the Pistols'" Anarchy in the UK".
Just a few highlights of the album. "Can't Buy Me" is a total party song and together with "No Blame Them" (a song about Femi becoming the victim of journalists' lies) one of the few non-political songs on the album. "Africa for Africa" and "Yepario" are the two only songs with a slightly slower tempo, all the other songs are short and snappy. While definitely falling under the Afrobeat moniker there are few songs on the album like " It don't Mean" where we're hearing something new that we definitely didn't hear Femi play in the past, or his father before him. It could describe it here, but the main thing is that it's good. Just like the rest of the album.