Hard Proof

Hard Proof

Texas Platters

Hard Proof

The task of any Afrobeat ensemble is to first prove that they're well-versed in the classics and then bring something new to the conversation. Austin ninepiece Hard Proof Afrobeat does exactly that on a stirring self-titled debut that kick-starts with 30 seconds of hard funk fury and closes with a mournful jazz melody over sparse percussion that only loosely operates within the framework of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. From the dark psychedelic marauding of "Stolen Goods" to the Ethiopique groove of "Jimma," Hard Proof crafts moody instrumentals that lean more toward Budos Band than Antibalas. A rumbling baritone sax churns the hypnotizing crawl of "Mahout," while the brass (which splits time with Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears) blows hard on "No Consideration" and freaks out on "M.E.N.D." The best of the band's brooding grooves border prove Afrobeat is alive in Austin. This debut is Hard Proof.

***.5

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