Darrin James Band – “Bombs Away”



Over the past week I’ve been spinning Fela Kuti’s recently-released Vinyl Box Set 3, which has enough highlights to affirm to any listener that Kuti produced some of the most vibrant, stylistically alive music of the ’70s and ’80s. As a clear-clut pioneer of Afro-beat, Kuti has continued to inspire hordes of musicians well beyond his death in 1997. One of many artists he influenced is Darrin James, who has spent time between Michigan and NYC since releasing his 2006 debut, Thrones of Gold.  As that previous work and others show, James doesn’t stick exclusively to Kuti-inspired tunes; his past work has earned comparisons to Springsteen, Dylan, Waits, and other greats in the classic-rock and folk sphere. Still, he has a very eclectic nature; in 2012, James joined a Balkan funk group called Ornamtik, who released their debut album this year.

Now, the ever-busy James has a new project that features a track called “Bombs Away”, which is a strong Afro-beat-inspired criticism at world governments for achieving power through violence. Lively assortments of brass combine with infectious call-and-response vocals, which repeat passionately during the chorus: “Unmanned drones, no-fly zones….bombs Away, big Mistake.” It’s a nice combination of passionate lyrical content with very vibrant instrumental accompaniments, which retains its refreshing compatibility throughout all 6+ minutes.

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Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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