Soundway Records has made its name with excellent re-releases of rare and unusual tracks from West Africa, winning fans with their consistently jive taste, extensive liner notes, and beautiful artwork. 2012 saw the label expanding its mission by signing contemporary artists, including London’s Ibibio Sound Machine, who join the likes of Débruit and Alsarah, Bomba Estereo, and Chico Mann in this exciting new push.
Ibibio Sound Machine combines Ghanaian highlife with disco, post-punk, electro soul and more in their debut single ‘Let’s Dance’. Fronted by British-Nigerian vocalist Eno Williams, this intercontinental line-up of musicians impresses with its grab-bag style. Between their otherworldly synth sounds and drum machines, this track sounds almost like a mid ‘80s electro-pop song. But with their heavy percussion and big brass sound, this octet lands a much bigger punch than many of the ‘80s artists whose sounds they reference.
While the band’s lyrics are heavily influenced by the folk tales that Williams’ family recounted to her in their mother tongue, the South-Eastern Nigerian language Ibibio, Ibibio Sound Machine deftly blends their patently African sound with the approach of their British influences. Their particularly alluring combination of genres is sure to please. Visceral and bass-heavy, “Let’s Dance” certainly lives up to its name. Be on the look-out, the album drops in the new year.