Firstly, the first album was good enough to make me wonder how he could top it. Well he has!
For those who don't know, Amp Fiddler is at the forefront of modern neo-soul, in the same vain as Maxwell and D'Angelo etc.
He started out as a keyboardist from Detroit, and has become a funk and soul musician who has worked with Enchantment, the Dramatics, George Clinton, Moodyman, Jamiroquai, Fishbone, Maxwell, Prince, the Brand New Heavies, Ramsey Lewis, P-Funk All-Stars, Primal Scream, Was (Not Was) and Too Short to name but a few.
Working with such infuential artists has showed through on this album, whether it be becoming a multi instrumentalist talent, joining George Clinton's Funkadelic, or developing a 'base' for others to collaborate and create. The first album was more of a vibe, a full stop on a long period of his life to that point and a drawing together of unfinished songs and feelings from his youth. 'Afro Strut' seems like more of a fresh start that sees him able to look further forward as well as back to his roots.
It leaves the album feeling more "mature" than the first....no mean feat.
He has worked with a whole new set of collaborators for this effort. The first track 'Faith' sets the standard with Amp joined by Raphael Saadiq on a timelessly deep ode to spirituality of a different kind. The UK's Justin Crawford (one half of Manchester-based dj/production outfit Unabombers) is brought in for two of the standout disco-flecked cuts 'Right Where You Are' and 'Ridin'. Amp's Jazz heritage rolls to the fore on the uplifting 'If I Don't', recalling his days in doo-wop outfit The Enchantments as a teenager and laying open the musical make up of its creator.
By referencing so many different styles, it's ensured that this album is unique in it's raw funk style and is NOT TO BE MISSED.
A big thumbs up then!