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A CERTAIN RATIO – 1982 (2023)

What? 1982 in 2023? Yes, this is a new record from the Jazz-funk meisters. I found it a pleasant listen and I thought that ‘1982’ is a clever and commercial track (nice synth line too)- expect some radio play! I was longing for a solo to lift the music, but it is a song-based album sticking to the 3 to 4-minute mark. The most ambitious track on side one is the instrumental ‘Tombo in M3’ (4:45) - I really enjoyed that one.

The soul-jazz of ‘Afro Dizzy’ also impressed (nice vocal by Ellen Beth Abdi), the drummer taking a leaf out of the great Tony Allen’s book. ‘Holy Smoke’ is a hand-clapping get ‘em on the floor type of number. I thought of PRINCE here – and was that a small quote from STEALERS WHEEL’s ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ I heard? The crazy sax break could have gone on longer for me. There’s some welcome flute on ‘Tier 3’ to mellow things down, and an Afro-beat feel. The autographical ballad at the end has a nice late night jazz feel.

Overall, a mixed bag for me, but when it comes good it’s really good.

A CERTAIN RATIO got their name from a BRIAN ENO song. Their first release “The Graveyard and the Ballroom” (1980) was on cassette, and the next two LPs topped the Indie charts. After a hiatus of a more than decade “ACR Loco” was released in 2020, a very different record to “1982”, and a stronger one overall I think.

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