Wara – Leave To Remain (Movimientos Records)
Louder Than War reviews the début album by Wara, UK-based young revolutionaries & stars of a burgeoning latin scene.
Just when you were looking for a new Latin / Salsa / Hip Hop / Jazz / Soul / Reggae / Jazz album, along comes Wara with a fine debut. No, I kid you not. Wara manage to fuse together all those styles into a very likeable collection of songs that will either make you want to get up and dance (yes, even me), smile or frown at the lyrical content, or just sit tapping your feet away until they can tap no more.
A nine piece band from eight countries is bound to throw up differing styles, but it’s not just the music that is infectious. The lyrics bite, whether it’s on subjects of (im)migration or social identity on Somewhereland, the title track Leave To Remain or Run For Cover with its London riots commentary. What is clever is the effortless switch from English to South American / Portuguese and the way it fits in perfectly with the rest of the track.
Their energy cannot be denied, and the tight rhythms, effervescent percussion and overall multi-faceted arrangements are something that has helped them fill dancefloors since the release of the acclaimed Flesh And Bone EP two years ago. The title track is an explosive affair which also manages to cram in a marvellous rap courtesy of MC Murmur.
It’s not all party, party, party either. The acoustic version of Flesh And Bone is nothing short of wonderful with its jazz overtones and its equality undertones. The lead vocal is lovely and the backing vocals are divine. Grab your partner for Pide A Yemaya and rumba until you can’t rumba anymore. There’s some stunning saxophone too, and a hilarious album closer in Caprichoso – you have to listen to it to believe it.
Run For Cover is a great reggae number with a lyric of true relevance which they manage to combine with great tunes, great feeling and great lyrics. It breaks into an infectious Ska bridge with another rap from a fictitious policeman. It’s quite a talent, and one that they do well.
The only disappointment is that the album is only seven tracks long! I bet live the band are quite a spectacle so my advice would be to catch them live as soon as possible – if you’re in Manchester you can do so tonight!
8 June – Band On The Wall, Manchester
14 June – The Cellar, Oxford
27 June – Glastonbury festival, Somerset
27 July – Secret Garden Party festival, Cambridgeshire
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.