One of the more obnoxious things about the vastly overrated Vampire Weekend’s press was the constant fawning over the group’s co-opting of strains of afrobeat in their bland indie rock.
If you want a much more substantial homage to the genre, try spinning NOMO’s Invisible Cities. Led by former Saturday Looks Good to Me saxophonist Elliot Bergman, this Ann Arbor, MI-via-Chicago umpteenth-piece busts out all manner of swinging and bopping horn sections to thread tight, succinct melodies over a cascade of percussive rhythm: drumkits, bongos, congas, and, most notably, many, many handmade plunky kalimbas (African thumb pianos).
While it’s the beat that truly drives this outfit, Bergman and his cohorts don’t limit themselves to any sort of rote standards in their spin on the genre. There are deep space rock distances thrown into numbers like the title track. Skronky reed solos are given ample reign as well, peppering the disc with a fair amount of heady jazz from both the free and restrained ends of the spectrum.
Think of Invisible Cities as the grown-up version of post rock or the best qualities of Vampire Weekend with the irony and posturing excised. Plus this is much better party music by a wide margin.
Ubiquity Records: www.ubiquityrecords.com