Lé La

Indies Scope MAM425-2


Full Price (49 mins)

Originally published in Songlines.

Čankišou Lé La Indies Scope MAM425-2 49 mins (Full Price) **

As the pumping, insistent guitar chords of this album’s first track fire up, steadily rising in intensity alongside shouting voices, you don’t know whether we’re heading for a riotous gig or a pub brawl. What comes out is neither: rather a kind of growling, horn-led rock song over a backbeat that doesn’t quite hit the heights promised by its introduction. Nonetheless, it does hint at what Czech world music band Cankisou – on their fourth album after a decade together – are capable of. Second track ‘Zuha’ is more like it: its insistent Archie Shepp-meets-punk-Balkan groove fires away, all the while hinting at the feeling of latent chaos that makes bands like Leningrad and the Betsuni Nanmo Klezmer band so exhilarating. Partially influenced by recent tours taking in Pakistan, Ukraine and La Réunion – this is a confident, tight album with plenty of surprises: ‘Caloudbadia’ rides on a slick Afrobeat groove with squealing clarinet and a singlalong lead vocal by Réunionnais guest singer Byin Maye; ‘Kustino Oro’ is the Balkan standard but with an intriguing edge – part Bollywood big band and part Lalo Schifrin and with a driving punk energy. Lead singer Karel Herman has a theatrical, declamatory kind of voice that sometimes sits awkwardly on top of the harder-edged songs in this combustible mixture - nonetheless Lé La is an adventurous, expansive album that deserves to do very well indeed.

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