As more esoteric and exotic influences flood into homegrown beat music, it’s worth remembering that few groups have been as strident in their bridge-building as The Very Best.
Formed by pan-global magpies Radioclit (responsible for the excellent Secousse night) and Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya, the trio caught attention with 2008’s Esau Mwamwaya And Radioclit AreThe Very Best mixtape. Mwamwaya’s exuberant croon was set over reworked beats from M.I.A., Vampire Weekend and Santigold, and the results were infectious. Their debut full-length Warm Heart Of Africa, a collage of African beats and playful samples, arrived the following year.
New album MTMTMK, forthcoming on Moshi Moshi, sees things switched up somewhat. The group have slimmed down to a duo following Etienne Tron’s departure from Radioclit. Unlike the last record, MTMTMK was also recorded in Mwamwaya’s native country, and features contributions from the likes of Baaba Maal, Amadou & Marian and K’naan. Rising UK singer Seye also features.
FACT have a stream of MTMTMK to enjoy, and it shows the group have lost little of their exuberance. ‘Rumbae’ and ‘Moto’ are sleek digital cuts that nod towards big-league US pop. Dinky pop number ‘I Wanna Go Away’,meanwhile, strikes a fun balance between dorky and charming. Nothing on here is vaguely subtle, but, listened to in the right spirit, it’s not short on charms. Click below to listen.
MTMTMK is out on July 16 on Moshi Moshi.