A.J. Holmes & the Hackney Empire first came to our attention through the group’s debut album ” The Wedding, an exciting mix of Congolese soukous, Nigerian highlife, and British pop. Now, they’re back with the bouncy new single ‘The Criminal,’ cut off of their forthcoming “difficult second” album, Soft Power.
Imagine if Madness decided to play soukous instead of ska and you might end up with something like this fun, danceable, and decidedly British track. Right out of the gate, we are hit with a high energy guitar line, a buoyant bass riff and a four on the floor kick drum. Rounding out the sound are the lush vocal harmonies that are one of the group’s calling cards. In a particularly enjoyable development, all of this is wrapped around a lead vocal turn that drips with seedy charisma, coming on like a particularly threatening game-show host. If this track is any indication, we here at Afropop are definitely looking forward to hear what else A.J. and the gang have in store on the new record. Be sure to head over here to check it out and grab a free download.