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Matt Gerardi

Femi and Seun Kuti, sons of the legendary activist and Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti, just released albums with their respective bands one week apart from one another. But where Femi built a mellower, more optimistic album, his younger brother’s latest quakes with political outrage and confrontation. Leading the surviving members of his father’s band, Seun rails against government corruption and rallies revolutionaries past, present, and future. It’s a message that resonates beyond Nigeria’s borders, but erasing that point of origin would rob it of its identity and fly in the face of songs like “African Dreams,” Seun’s impassioned lament over the brain drain looting his country. For the most part, the music backs up his mood. It’s faster, tougher, and more blood-boiling than usual, but it’s still malleable, growing to a furious peak on “Corporate Public Control Department” or slowing to a mournful groove on “African Dreams.” Fittingly, the only time it really lets him down is when Carlos Santana’s unmistakable guitar tramples all over “Black Times,” dragging the arrangement too far from the roots Seun so righteously upholds.

RIYL: Afrobeat. Trumpet solos. Political furor.

Start here: “Corporate Public Control Department,” a reworked version of “Gimme My Vote Back” from the Struggle Sounds EP, is the album’s most viscerally thrilling protest j ...

Femi and Seun Kuti, sons of the legendary activist and Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti, just released albums with their respective bands one week apart from one another. But where Femi built a mellower, more optimistic album, his younger brother’s latest quakes with political outrage and confrontation. Leading the surviving members of his father’s band, Seun rails against government corruption and rallies revolutionaries past, present, and future. It’s a message that resonates beyond Nigeria’s borders, but erasing that point of origin would rob it of its identity and fly in the face of songs like “African Dreams,” Seun’s impassioned lament over the brain drain looting his country. For the most part, the music backs up his mood. It’s faster, tougher, and more blood-boiling than usual, but it’s still malleable, growing to a furious peak on “Corporate Public Control Department” or slowing to a mournful groove on “African Dreams.” Fittingly, the only time it really lets him down is when Carlos Santana’s unmistakable guitar tramples all over “Black Times,” dragging the arrangement too far from the roots Seun so righteously upholds.

RIYL: Afrobeat. Trumpet solos. Political furor.

Start here: “Corporate Public Control Department,” a reworked version of “Gimme My Vote Back” from the Struggle Sounds EP, is the album’s most viscerally thrilling protest jam, with Seun attacking Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari (and lying politicians everywhere) as the band careens toward a gloriously aggrieved finale.

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