Fantastic Negrito - Please Don't Be Dead
Don't worry if you’ve not heard of Fantastic Negrito. He had a false start back in 1996 when he released his album The X Factor under the name Xavier. It’s a banger. He had a near-fatal car crash in 1999 that put a halt on his contract with Interscope. He’s been back in the game since 2014 with the release of his self-titled second spinner. His third record, The Last Days Of Oakland, won him a Grammy. It feels that, with this new record, he’s riding a rocket to the stars.
Please Don’t Be Dead is steeped in the musical heritage of America: soul, funk, blues and good ol’ rock and roll. On paper, this might sound like a terrible idea. If you grace your listening device with the first track, 'Plastic Hamburgers', you’ll feel the full weight of its intentions.
The tribal chants of 'A Boy Names Andrew' tie together the ghost of America past while looking to the future with a stunning clarity. 'A Suit That Won’t Come Off' is a gospel groove that feels vital. The album ends with the hopeful, infectiously funky 'Bullshit Anthem'. There’s grace and grit all over this record.
When a lot of bands are trading guitars for Euroracks, Please Don’t Be Dead teases new life out of tried and tested avenues. This is another addition to the grand artistic achievements of California’s Bay Area. Heavenly and heavy in all the right places. It’s a perfect snapshot of the US in 2018, both parts angry and affirmative. The dialogue for change continues within these tunes. It’s fantastic in every way.