FIRST PUBLISHED AT THE LINE OF BEST FIT
Extra Golden are a combination of Keynan and American musicians who marry political consciousness to a vibrant, funky take on rock informed by the Nairobi-born Benga style. According to the band’s MySpace, the member’s share a belief that “tight quarters = tight grooves”, and ‘Thank You Very Quickly’ – recorded largely on a one-day jam in a corridor in guitarist Ian Eagleson’s parents’ house – doesn’t disappoint. But tightness doesn’t tell the whole story, as the 6-tracks clock in at a combined 37 minutes, adding an expansiveness to the thrillingly intricate musicianship. While the sound is often upbeat to the point of being celebratory, there is disaffection – mostly regarding the political landscape in Kenya – coming through in the singing, rendered in a mix of English and local dialect. Sonically, this may suit fans seeking a starting point in African music, particularly those who are more interested in the bluesier, rockier end of the spectrum than the slicker, hyper-polished product of Amadou & Mariam. Those relentless loops of sound – the interlocking, spiralling guitar-work – will please all heads with an ear for the psychedelic, for the trance-like possibilities of pure noise.
The opener ‘Gimakiny Akia’ peaks with a percussive assault that takes the track tantalisingly to the brink of sheer bedlam while ‘Fantasies of the Orient’ is part Parliment part Deep Purple, the muscular riffing showing they are not shy of a bit of 70s hard rock. ‘Security’ is a shimmying groover that drifts to and from a recurrent melody over a persistent rhythmic pattern while “Anyango” sounds like Jimmy Page grooving with Ali Farka Toure, a thrilling combination of different accented guitars calling and responding over explosive percussion. The stunning the anti-Aids ‘Ukiwimi’ blends synths, shimmering guitars and jazzy rhthyms to poignant effect, sung beautifully by drummer Onyango Wuod Omari. And it is Omari’s drumming that consistently engages throughout Thank You Very Quickly, from Bebop scattershots to incendiary hard rock batterings. An impressive, heady pleasure.