SWAHILI BLONDE: DEITIES IN DECLINE EP

July 14th, 2015 | Album reviews

SWAHILI BLONDE
Deities in Decline EP
Neurotic Yell

There’s a lot to love about this tantalizingly short 4-song EP, which gives us just one brief song for every year since the last proper Swahili Blonde release. Theoretically, there’s a lot to miss in this relatively minimalist EP, the most obvious example being all the actual members of Swahili Blonde, none of whom accompany band leader Nicole Turley on this comeback (well, except for Laena Geronimo, but her Scheherazade-inspired violin playing is always the exception that proves the rule). Apparently, despite the wild live band, Turley has always considered the studio version of the band to be her own baby, and I can’t argue with results: these sleek, Eno-esque reggae funk brooders are a fantastic return to form, with more space and 4/4 mechanized angles than came before, and yet all the instruments are played at least as well by Turley as by her former ringers. The basslines alone are so minimally funky, combining the cool dub punch of Jah Wobble with a bass bounce that sounds more like Duran Duran than the actual bassist from Duran Duran, John Taylor, did when he played in Swahili Blonde! If you follow that bouncing bass across the Metal Box-esque first track, through the exultant Prince Rama revelations of “Discover Aurora,” into the Taking Tiger Mountain mystery of “Three in the Tree” and onto the white chanteuse rocksteady-dub of “Magdalene,” (like if Extra Classic got a little less classic), your deities might die, but I think the sun is gonna come on out anyway.

—D.M. Collins