The Very Best

Thursday

SXSW Records

The Very Best

Warm Heart of Africa (Green Owl)

Making the leap from mixtape to a proper album can be even more difficult than overcoming the dreaded sophomore slump – the bar being measured against is one of critical hyperbole, not commercial success. Global in its scope and appeal, the Very Best – Malawian-born, London-based singer Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit, the British production duo of Johan Karlberg and Etienne Tron – accomplishes this feat with rare relative ease on its debut LP, Warm Heart of Africa, a summery celebration of cross-pollinated Afro-pop. The trio borrows from its free 2008 download (the Architecture in Helsinki-sampled "Kamphopo" and remixed "Kada Manja") but also adds 1980s synth-pop ("Chalo"), dancehall grooves ("Nsokoto"), and the M.I.A.-stormed "Rain Dance" to the mix, along with the West Coast-meets-UK grime of "Julia." It's upbeat and inspiring almost to a fault – the lilting, diamond-soul yelp of Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig holds its own on the Upper West Side Soweto of the title track – which also makes Warm Heart feel like some sort of Disney tourist attraction – enjoyable but not yet revelatory. (Thu., 1am, Beauty Bar Backyard; Fri., 1:15am, Emo's Main Room.)

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Friday Showcases
Friday Showcases
Korea, Japan, Spain, Africa – see the world from single showcases

March 20, 2015

Saturday Interview
Saturday Interview

Kevin Curtin, March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Thousand Foot Whale Claw
Black Hole Party (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, July 27, 2018

Texas Platters
Future Museums
Rosewater Ceremony (Record Review)

Rachel Rascoe, May 25, 2018

More by Austin Powell
Record Review: The Young
Record Review: The Young

Aug. 22, 2014

Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Oregon fest boasts IPAs, ATXs, camping, and sustainability

Aug. 4, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The Very Best

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle