July 23, 2024

Lack Of Afro – “Jack Of All Trades” – Sweet soul, funk and pop make a perfect summer album

LOA Records 10th August 2018

Sweet soul, funk and pop make a perfect summer album

Full of traditional soul and disco, this is somehow timeless and full of summery vibes. Tight and sweet high vocals (Elliott Cole) open proceedings before giving way to a cutesy female soul voice Juliette Ashby). I’m grooving nicely and smiling as the album’s feel washes over me. A producer-led album, Adam Gibbons has played multiple instruments and constructed the whole thing as a flowing wave of good times. Only You and Me is classic Philly soul underpinned with a solid 4/4 dancefloor filling beat. Some rapping keeps us ever so slightly more up to date (by a mere decade). Over & Out is a rock-influenced thing, the sort of thing that might have been tucked away on an Earth Wind and Fire set back in the day.

I’ve not come across Lack Of Afro before but their 2016 album, Hello Baby, was nominated for a Radio 6 album of the year award. I wonder how much longer they can be overlooked, with a warm and moving soulful set like this. It’s been on my phone for ages and been played often enough that it feels like coming home.

Don’t Do Me Over is perfect blue-eyed soul, with Nick Corbin’s London vowels bringing back it home. There are some great singers here and I’m pleased to say this isn’t Nick’s only appearance. The collection gets funky too, like the bass-led instrumental intermission. Back In Business funks hard and snappy with some James Brownian grunts and shout outs. Things stay snappy with Good Love’s burbling-bass and urgent funk-soul entreaties and Take It Up A Notch closes on a jam that Prince and the NPG wouldn’t have been ashamed of.

It’s not strikingly new, it’s just strikingly good. A near-perfect soul collection for a blazing hot summer, moving the feet of anyone with ears.

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