Swahili Blonde – Man Meat
[Manimal Vinyl, 2010]
Jeff Pearson, September 9, 2010
Originally published by Life’s Sweet Breath
Listen: “Tigress Ritual”
Recently departed Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante joins with ex-WEAVE! drummer/vocalist Nicole Turley, along with Duran Duran bassist John Taylor and multi-instrumentalists Laena Myers-Ionita, Stella Mozgawa and Michael Quinn to form the psychedelic world outfit Swahili Blonde. They bring us the swirling funk freak-out in Man Meat.
They take you through the ringer immediately with “Elixor Fixor”, a disorienting track that goes from percussive groove with Turley yelping over the top, to half-time funk, and back again, never quite touching down to something that we could even say resembles planet Earth. “Dr. Teeth” is an instrumental driven by punishing drums and Frusciante’s familiar truncated chord strikes and sinewy lead guitar lines. “Tigress Ritual” brings true vocals into the mix for first time, with layers of voices crooning over a romp through the jungles of funk.
Before you can reason that this jungle resides on our planet, or even in our solar system, “LeMampatee” lifts off with a driving rhythm and horn blasts from beyond. The album sonically shifts further and further away from reality as we get deeper into Swahili Blonde’s vision, and ultimately we are left feeling dizzied and confused.
Not many pieces of music in today’s world dare to be this bold while channeling a genuine spirit as Man Meat has managed. Despite this, the band has the ability to take it even deeper into parts unknown, but chooses to dwell in this blend of experimental world funk. It never quite strays from this, and we’re left wondering what might be even beyond this world they’ve created.