I know I saw the William Onyeabor album last year but skipped on it. God knows why. Neneh Cherry I’m not so sure about—the album art rang a bell when I came across it a couple months ago, but that’s neither here nor there. Important thing is that both of these are here now. So here you go.
NENEH CHERRY & THE THING – The Cherry Thing (Smalltown Supersound ’12): Soul singer Nineh Cherry’s decision to team up with avant-pop Scandanavian jazz outfit The Thing for a session of seven covers and one original yields wildly unpredictable but incredibly satisfying results. The sluggish waltz of Mats Gustaffson’s sax on Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” or lockstep stomp alongside drummer Paal Nilssen-Love on the Stooges’ “Dirt” fill every crevice with incredible instrumentation. Cherry’s vocal surprises are innumerable: how many singers could turn MF Doom’s “Accordion” into a scat rag? Who would’ve even thought of it? And how the fuck does something this good slip by me without my noticing? A MINUS
WILLIAM ONYEABOR – World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who is William Onyeabor? (Luaka Bop ’13): Good question. He’s a little-known Nigerian funk-disco dude turned born-again Christian who swore off discussing his music post-1985 after a six album stint. He’s a ten-gallon hat-wearin’ fella whose career-spanning comp demonstrates his dream of dance. He’s an enigmatic ear-pleaser whose epic supercuts span as much as ten minutes, whose supreme whining synthesizers stretch over plucky bass lines and booty-shaking beats, whose accented incantations of “I’m gonna explode / Like atomic bomb” backed by regal female vocalists suggest in their simplicity. So get to know Mr. Onyeabor for your own sake. He certainly doesn’t want to know you. A MINUS