Lafayette Afro Rock Band - Darkest Light: The Best of the Lafayette Afro-Rock Band

The Lafayette Afro Rock Band are the very definition of a cult act. Despite not selling a high volume of records, they are described, at least in the accompanying press release, as "underground favourites". Now I know PR peeps occasionally like to pull our legs or stretch the truth, but, if credibility can be measured in samples, The Lafayette Afro Rock Band must have something. De La Soul, Public Enemy, Jay-Z and, er, Kriss Kross are just a few of the acts that have borrowed from their work.

Formed in the U.S. in 1970 as the Bobby Boyd Congress, they moved to France soon after, appearing and recording under various names until splitting in 1982. I'm not sure there could be anything more 70s than the permutations of rock, funk and jazz here. There's Time To Change even seems to channel the spirit of prog. Scorpion Flower, with its dense rhythms, fanfares, and various noodly solos, sounds like it should be accompanying a blaxploitation flick. It makes you want to want wear big shades, have a couple of women on your arm and use what the BBFC would term "very strong language". You can bet Bobby Gillespie already has it somewhere in his collection.

Darkest Light is far from unenjoyable, but, if you detect a whiff of the educational about it, you're probably right. Rock fused with jazz or funk is, I suspect, of limited appeal these days. Still, those who like that sort of thing, as well as hip-hop fans interested in the genre's precursors, are unlikely to be disappointed.



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