Antibalas Reinvent the Rhythm Method

Antibalas' self-titled third album is propulsive and infectious, and it makes you want to bump and grind.

Photo: Jacob Blickenstaff

Music critics tend to laud Antibalas for all the wrong reasons—namely, that it lets them peacock their knowledge of Afrobeat and champion a band they know will never land a spot on Dick Clark's Rockin New Year's Eve With Ryan Seacrest. Whatever. The real reasons to love Antibalas and their self-titled third album are pretty simple and far more compelling: It's propulsive, it's infectious, and it makes you want to bump and grind.

The first single off Antibalas, "Dirty Money," a screed against Wall Street excess, lays down guitar-driven funk that surely would've turned Zucotti Park into a giant dance floor. Throughout these six mostly instrumental tracks, Nigerian-born lead singer Amayo goes wild with call-and-response lyrics. And, as ever, the horn section is simultaneously rollicking and tight, the percussion pulsating and irrepressible.

So why hasn't this amazing band, whose last album was five years ago, recorded sooner? Well, they've been busy. Many of Antibalas' 11 members play in the Dap Kings (frequent collaborators with Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse, and Sharon Jones), while others perform with Iron & Wine, the Roots, and TV on the Radio. The group were also tapped by Jay-Z to do the music for the Broadway musical Fela. So if you don't want to trust the critics' recommendations or our endorsement—take it from the music-industry insiders.

Antibalas drops Tuesday, August 7. Check out the Muppets-inspired video for "Dirty Money" below—we dare you not to tap along to it.

—Alex Bhattacharji, executive editor at Details

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