Following a Mercury prize for their 2014 album Dead, and their epic show at last year’s Clockenflap, expectations were high for experimental trio Young Fathers’ third record, Cocoa Sugar.
See How kicks off proceedings with harsh string stabs, and a soulful voice that gradually builds to a gospel-esque chant. The experimental afro-jazz feel of Fee Fi is even darker; the lo-fi rhythms and group chants are awesome but verge on uncomfortable.
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These vocally intense tribal/gospel fusions dominate the album, but the instrumentation prevents it from feeling formulaic. In My View is like a melodically wrought Stormzy, while the drone synths and forlorn vocals of Wow recall 90s electronica group Faithless, and the dubsmash beat of Border Girls is straight-up Gorillaz in their prime.
Closers Wire, Toy and Picking You are the most energetic, but also the weakest numbers. Wire has a jungle rhythm gamer-music vibe, and Toy is an manic mix of melody and psychedelia, but all three are relatively one-dimensional.
Cocoa Sugar is a twisted, undulating and dissonant ride, but it really gets under your skin.
Edited by Karly Cox