This year multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer ADAM GIBBONS in his LACK OF AFRO guise has released a trio of rightly acclaimed singles. We’ve enjoyed ‘Loving Arms’, ‘Automatic Lovin” and ‘All Night’. All were subtly different but all had a catchy, contemporary soul magic that betrayed Mr G’s passion for and knowledge of classic soul and hip hop

We were told that those three cuts were from an “upcoming” album and said LP is now with us and it’s aptly title ‘Square One’ – back to basic is if you would; no gimmicks or chicanery, just an honest take on 21st century soul/R&B/hip hop informed by the three   genres’ rich, glorious past and, don’t forget, Adam’s recent visit to Muscle Shoals

‘Square One’ is Afro’s eighth long player and his stature’s such that he can call on some top names to help him flesh out his musical ideas. So you may remember that Jack Tyson Charles, (yes, Craig’s son) fronted ‘All Night’ , Greg Blackman was there on ‘Loving Arms’ (no, not the Dobie Gray song) and the silky tones of Holmes graced ‘Automatic Lovin’’. Other featured guests on the collection include DJ Yoda who’s there on the opening track, ‘Enter The Ring’. I defy you to find  a bigger, bolder, more in your face album opener than this one! Then  there’s  Too Many Ts who add their two penny’s worth to a Latino romp ‘Amigos’ This one’s another big affair and again I defy you to find another Latin-based track with a sound like this one. Buena Vista Social Club or Sergio Mendes it ain’t!

Some of Adam’s old collaborators lend a  hand too. So  Wax & Herbal T let it all hang out on ‘Let It All Out’ . This is yet another no place to hide track . A little more gentle is ‘Least Favourite Wonder’ which features Dare Club  while ‘Browsing You Tube; is something quite different, semi-spoken, it’s  little more than a bass-led, jam – but it works beautifully in the context of the album.

‘Square One’  is good to go now  via Lack of Afro’s Bastion Music Group label. Recommended!