Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Les Amazones d'Afrique: Amazones Power [RealWorld, 2020]
Unimpressed at first by music lacking both the exuberant Afrogroove woman power of Les Amazones de Guinée and the ideological feminism of this project's debut, I came around when I learned to hear it as Liam Farrell's boldest Afro-Euro fusion yet. Absolutely it's feminist rather than simply woman-powered, as the incisive and abundant notes make manifest--the daring and together Mamani Keita is all over it without dominating her many female coworkers. But from the squeaky-door sound that sneaks under the together-we-must-stand opener to the squelchy keyb intro to a title closer that passes lead vocals from queen to queen, Mbongwana Star mastermind Farrell marks this music with 21st-century sounds, some but by no means all borrowed from or inspired by the bassy Congotronics effects he puts to such daring and various use. By no means ignore the CD's generous documentation. But by all means try to hear it as music merely. A-