Cause for celebration, if you been following the progress of Leeds outfit Fold on MB, is the news that their long-awaited Aphelion – A Tribute To Lorraine Hansbury album is finally out. Those familiar with previous work from the band will be aware that they’ve carved out a musical niche fitting the spoken words of inspirational figures to original music that draws influence from library music, cinematic soul and hip-hop. On the new LP (their third) the spoken words in question are mainly drawn from recordings of Afro-American activist and playwright Lorraine Hansberry, though, at times, augmented by additional words from Coretta Scott King, EF Schumacher, UK poet Mr Gee and the band’s own Seth Moshowitz.
This album features twelve tracks with music veering from the sparse downtempo breakbeats of opener Insurgent Mood, via the jazzy (The Bells Of The World), the funky (The Most Fulfilling Experience) and even the folksy (Nobody Fights) and ambient (Make New Sounds) to the more layered instrumental hip-hop of closer Illuminations. The two tracks that arguably make the biggest splash however are ones in which vocals from someone other than Hansberry are foregrounded. One of these is the the title cut Aphelion on which Mr Gee delivers a searing critique of racial inequality with lyrics that pointedly include a pop at bandwagon-jumping virtue signallers who recently proclaimed that black lives matter and then sat back like they’d just split the atom despite that declaration being the sum total of their ‘efforts’ to improve the situation. The ‘Aphelion’ – in case you were wondering – is the point when an orbiting body is furthest from the sun so if you’re getting the vibe that the band are finding our current times rather benighted, you’d be right. Still they’re here to bring hope in as well as observe that shit could be a lot better. Enter The Prize with its funky groove, positive conscious message and exhortation for people to ‘Lift your head from the sand.’ The PR for this one originally claimed it sounded like a cross between War and the jazzier side of Black Sabbath with shades of David Axelrod though as the monkey has already pointed out, it sounds rather more like early Stone Roses (aided and abetted by a Brown-esque vocal from the band’s Seth Moshowitz) which can’t be a bad thing. Fold then – in an insurgent mood and more power to them.
(Out now on FoldFM)