Hipsteri afro-beata. Pokušaj rušenja Animal Collectivea s vrha baobaba.
Listen to the album in full here
Flamingods - Kinich Ahau: Vimeo
Flamingods story begins in Bahrain, where 4 of the 5 members (Kamal, Sam, Craig, and Charles) met. Upon moving to London they became friends with Karthik and so Flamingods were formed.
As early gigs go, Flamingods’ couldn’t have gone much better. Having all bought tickets to the Animal Collective-curated ATP festival, they decided to take along a selection of their huge instrument collection and embarked on an 8 hour set in a chalet on-site – with up to 60 people crammed in to try and grab a view of their constantly changing line-up and enchanting tribal rhythms, and those who couldn’t squeeze in danced outside or tried clambering through windows.
Throughout 2011, Flamingods built up a loyal following through uploading bedroom-recorded releases to their Bandcamp and continuing to wow through a series of live performances, including an ATP-organised support slot for Islet. 2012 saw the band entering the studio for the first time and their debut album ‘Sun’ is the result of these sessions – recorded as a full band in London’s SoundSavers over the past 12 months. Previous single ‘Quesso’.- Norman Records
It would be impossible for me to write this review without making at the very least a slight allusion to the influence Animal Collective has had on this release. You can hear the band’s fingerprints across the album, from the tribal rhythms to the dazed electronics. It was only a matter of time before what could arguably be called the worlds biggest “buzz band” (I shudder typing those words)’s influence could be felt on a new wave of independent releases, and it would be sheer short-sightedness to miss the plethora of vast and varied influences at work here.This is an album built around rhythmic motifs, and whilst there is a slight bias toward the dotted and tribal patterns, the tracks ebb and flow with an abundance of far-reaching styles. African polyrhythms sit next to what can only be described as drunken drum and bass on ‘Kinich Ahau’, while lead single ‘Quesso’ has a decidedly more Asian feel.
This melting pot of rhythms both far-flung and closer to home lends the album the convivial atmosphere of a summit of tribal leaders left to their own devices in Anton Newcombe‘s instrument cupboard. There is a feeling of looseness that permeates the album, leading the listener to think that perhaps these songs were recorded improvised, all in one take, and that at any moment the whole thing could fall apart amidst a clatter of unidentifiable percussion. Instead, there are points throughout the album when the cacophony reaches an exultant climax. These moments, like the apex of the blissfully chaotic ‘Sun’, imbue the album with the feeling you might imagine the participants of a drum circle presume they elicit from passers-by. Perhaps the best track on the album, ‘Taishōgoto’, has a distinctly different approach to the structure of most of the others. The omnipresent percussion and delay drenched yelps are still here, but the looser trial structure is replaced by a Nuggets-esque slice of ’60s psychedelia. The droning chords and glitched out guitar lines come as a real refresher as the album progresses into its second half.
This is not an album that particularly demands your attention. The instrumental layering, whilst loud, is subtle and being a predominantly instrumental affair, it would be easy to switch off and let it wash over you in all of its beautiful clatter. No, it’s not an album that demands your attention. It is however an album that deserves your attention. The complex and dense interplay of all the instruments create beautiful substrata of harmony and rhythm that makes each new listen as rewarding as the last. My one complaint is the lack of definition between songs. Whilst this may be an album that rewards repetition, it is also an album that can fatigue. The sheer volume of instrumentation can sometimes become overwhelming after a few listens, but that only becomes a problem because you will have to give this album a few listens. As far as introductions go, for both band and label, this certainly ranks up there with the stronger. - The Line of Best Fit
Whenever you've got a band who simply doesn't care about verses and choruses, how long songs last when played live so long as they're having some fun along with the audience, or that the majority of instruments on stage aren't guitars (they're drums), then you'll always have Flamingods. They are a five-piece based out of the UK, fusing together Asian polyphonic textures, African rhythms, and the occasional pop sensibility into something of a freak-folk blush.
Sun is their debut album, and after a number of years putting on energetic live shows, this is their first major commitment to something physical beyond the shorter EP (incidentally, it is being released on Art Is Hard records, which is, coincidentally, their debut album release too). The band have previously been on record as saying that their live events are more geared around getting the audience involved, and that the music is doing its job when everyone starts dancing and having fun. Trying to capture any music in a recording that would have this effect live is a difficult task, but Flamingods succeed consistently throughout Sun.
Their lead single from the album, 'Quesso', which we featured as our Track of the Day back in October, is a masterclass in treating their musical direction with style and dignity. The lyrics echo back and forth, "I never want to be tied down/Sun give me some direction for my life," creating a laid back atmosphere that is present throughout the entire album. It's easy to split this album into songs which fall under two different categories; those which, on the surface at least, are like 'Quesso' in their make up, and those which aren't, which tend to be more experimental. The former group house songs such as 'Sun', 'Kinich Ahau', and 'If You Can Walk', the latter group housing songs such as 'Cacao', 'Mountain Hut', and 'Cimbala'. These more experimental songs suffer only slightly in the sense that you can imagine them coming alive when played live, but their recordings on Sun are more than pleasurable, and give a good taster for understanding, and enjoying, Flamingods. Whilst 'Quesso' is still an album highlight, that privilege is also shared by the bone-shattering 'Sun', the delightfully infectious 'Mountain Hut', and the magnificent 'If You Can Walk', which feels like a journey in of itself through the heads of the members of the band.
I guess that the best way to describe this album would be to compare it something a little bit similar. You can almost guarantee that many reviews are going to compare this to another band well known for melding together different genres into something akin to freak-folk (although, sure, they're a four piece), but I'm going to compare this band to someone completely different, and that's Daft Punk. Primarily, Daft Punk make music to get people dancing, and yet we'll call them one of the most important bands to come out of France, but not just for making dance music. This is because their albums actually capture that energy - the actual essence of the music beneath everything else - and capture it well. Flamingods accomplish something incredibly similar, and should be proud of all efforts made here. This is a fantastic collection of unadulterated fun. - The 405
Mystery Jets without the 70s pop? Yeasayer on too much Jägermeister? Who are Flamingods? Judging on their debut album, 'Sun', they're certainly a pretty weird bunch.
The London-based band take the crown for 2013's most innovative and experimental release to date. It might be a little early to say 'most innovative record of 2013', but their equally frantic, free and frivolous approach to making music warrants the accolade.
Fearlessly mixing tribal, psychedelic and tropical sounds, the five-piece stitch together a blissfully bright hippie quilt of kaleidoscopic musical beauty. It helps to be in the right mood to listen to this abstract but strangely intriguing "piece of crazy", but the amalgamation of tender steel drums, trippy Casio solos and indecipherable lyrics can't help but make you admire their non-conformist stance.
First single 'Quesso' is a drum tour de force with enough sparkly keyboards to make any dancefloor explode, while 'Mountain Hut' shows the band at their melodic best - a track fit for a game show theme or Carnival. The Mayan rave of 'Xipe Topec' will really push you over the edge of weirdness while simultaneously make you appreciate in how many different shapes and sound music can come.
Flamingods' crazy synth ruckus perfectly captures their "alien but accessible" mantra. 'Sun' is an entirely different listening experience than your average indie-pop, and let's all be thankful for it.
ATP is supposed to be a safe haven from acoustic guitar nuisances entertaining nobody around a campfire. But if Flamingods’ backstory about meeting at ATP is to be believed, clearly the ‘Kumbaya’ scourges are disguising themselves as hipsters and embarking on eight-hour chalet jams instead. Their debut album ‘Sun’ isn’t quite that long, but with its concoction of Afrobeat intricacies and ever-changing structures, it threatens to be. Consumed in bite-size pieces, it’s an intriguing, adventurous listen, bursting with howls of energy and exotic, offbeat pop, but it loses its magic when consumed as a whole. A good debut, but there’s room for improvement. - Rhian Daly