– THE PEACEFUL PROTEST –
Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher was once quoted as saying “There has never been a cool keyboard player apart from Elton John”.
Clearly, Noel Gallagher has never met the ginger wizard that is Joe Armon-Jones, one fifth of the coolest band on the planet right now, Ezra Collective.
Following on from the 2018 release of Armon-Jones’ debut solo record, Starting Today, he returns with a new, slightly awkwardly-titled track Icy Roads (Stacked) and this time he’s joined by in-demand drummer KwAkE bAsS (Kate Tempest, Sampha and Joey Bada$$) and bassist Mutale Chashi (KOKOROKO).
I used to see solo albums from non-singers as an excuse for musicians to show off their chops and found them mostly unlistenable.
And, if I’m being totally honest, there were still elements of that on Starting Today for me.
But what I love about Icy Roads (Stacked) is just how melodic Armon-Jones’ playing is. Sure, his phenomenal talent comes across as you hear those fingers dance across the keys but the track comes pre-loaded with a hookworm that will get lodged in your lug-holes.
Still there from last year’s album are the vaguely psychedelic vibes and the world-inspired rhythms that are so often a feature of Ezra Collective collaborator, Femi Koleoso’s playing and what make that group of musicians so exciting.
It appears Icy Roads (Stacked) is just a single for now but for more good entry points into Armon-Jones’ back-catalogue, try Ragify from Starting Today or read my review of Ezra Collective’s São Paolo.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –