HABIB KOITE & BAMADA - AFRIKI (Cumbancha)
Gentle African folk which sees Koite's guitar and voice softly pad-ded by simpatico backing by calabash, talking drum, doum doum and balafon. Ali Farke Toure and Afel Bocoum's violinist, the late Hassey Sarre, is included in a substantial guest list. Afriki comes after Bamada's six-year hiatus and it finds a pensive Koite musing over the value of African tradition. The rootsy Malian lilt is much like that of the Ishmael Lo vein, while the hypnotic Massake is an enticing world insert built on African rhythm which is definitely the cherry on top.
This live take of the thundering Canadian rock quartet perfectly captures the band's onstage energy. A CD and DVD place you up close and personal with concerts in London, Dusseldorf and Nuremberg. Vocalist Ben Kowalewicz shrieks and screeches through a repertoire of relentless rocking. 666 Live finds the band in fantastic form, and there are numerous persuasive tracks that will reel in newfound fans. Devil in a Midnight Mass, Line and Sinker, and This is How it Goes epitomise Billy Talent's awesome rock oeuvre.
Benjamin abandoned his stint singing over house tracks some years back, morphing to R&B on Who Am I. While his debut album housed some supersized grooves, this follow-on only really gets airborne by track six, Burden. …