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Album review: Rocket Juice and the Moon

By Scott Kara

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Rocket Juice and the Moon
Rocket Juice and the Moon

Rocket Juice and the Moon
Rocket Juice and the Moon
(Honest Jon's Records)
Stars: 2.5/5

It may be a supergroup - made up primarily of Blur/Gorillaz chap Damon Albarn, Red Hot Chili Pepper Flea and Afrobeat legend Tony Allen (longtime drummer for the late great Fela Kuti) - but this album often sounds waffly and wayward. And sometimes, on the instrumental interlude-style ditties of Night Watch and Check Out, it is especially directionless and rambling.

Though it channels the restless Afrobeat spirit, with Albarn's keyboard whimsy and Flea's head-nodding, arse-twitching bass lines coming to the fore, it sometimes sounds more like a musical plaything than an album. It's almost as if this accomplished lot can't decide whether they got together to have a laid back jam or to create something wondrous, experimental and new.

It has its moments however on The Unfadable, with the authoritative and charismatic charm of Ghanaian rapper M.anifest backed by a mix of galactic squelches, swaggering lucid beats (it's Allen at his best) and an eerie touch of piano.

Then there's future soul queen Erykah Badu teaming up with the brassy heft and groove of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on Hey, Shooter, a song that is both catchy and trippy as it shuffles and skitters around in your head.

The thing about these two tracks is that the supergroup make the songs their own, rather than simply channelling and mimicking everyone from Sun Ra to Kuti himself.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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