Amp Fiddler - Afro Strut Album Review
I first played this album on a trip over the Pennines from Leeds to Manchester. The weather was appalling and the traffic on the Motorway was at a standstill. After a few minutes of Amp Fiddler's laid back retro funk, I was completely chilled, and in no hurry to finish my journey. Opening track "Faith" has a wonderful retro sound, but with a truly modern edge (a feel that runs through this CD) and carries a lazy groove. "If I Don't" is a duet
with Corinne Bailey Rae, and despite the accompanying blurb that came with the album, stating the song has a 1930's influence, I felt it was more reminiscent of Quincy Jones 1960's sound, and dare I say, the theme from Austin Powers. Both Corinne Bailey Rae and Amp Fiddler sing scatty vocals over the top, which are delightfully cute and make this an uplifting and light-hearted track. It has to be said that there are many soul and funk influences underpinning this album, and none more so that Marvin Gaye, with "Hustle" being a good example. With its pleading strings and desolate lyrics, this wouldn't have sounded out of place on the "What's Going on?" album. Although probably confined to the album, this track could easily have the makings of a classic single. Amp Fiddler's vocal delivery is sometimes slightly different to the norm, as his lyrics kind of sit on top of the music, giving them a poetic feel, and on tracks such as "Not" he reminds me of the legendary Gill Scott Heron. You can't also deny the strong influence of Barry White, which really comes to the fore on the upbeat disco tracks of "Right Where You Are" and "Ridin". I appreciate that I might have painted a picture of a man who takes other peoples music and puts his name to it, but this couldn't be further from the truth, as Amp Fiddler, whilst taking his influences, blends them with his own style, to produce a cool retro sound that deserves to be heard. Overall, this is a wonderful album that would sound just as good on the dancefloor as it would sat in traffic on the M62!