With all the rhythm coursing through the members of Antibalas and their music, it makes sense for the group’s sound to likewise stay in motion. From its inception Antibalas has been an American take on Nigerian Afrobeat, one that’s been further and further refined with each subsequent release. Security, the band’s fourth full-length album, dances the group through Afrobeat and into new territory. Enigmatic in tone and densely constructed, “Beaten Metal” standoffishly greets listeners with off-kilter horn stabs, lock-step percussion, chirps and chatter of guitar and organ before breaking down into a metallic groove played on scrap metal. Antibalas wades deeper into uncharted waters by scaling back tempos and focusing on creating an atmosphere, one more suited for a sensual horizontal mambo than frantic footwork. Except for a few brass bursts “Sanctuary” and “Age” gently bubble along, kept in motion by calm guitar swipes and a lulling combination of keys and vibes. “Hilo” is actually dominated by keyboards and fleshed out with untroubled vocal harmonies, making it one of the first Antibalas tunes you could cuddle with. Security has its up-tempo moments as well, like the excellent vocal-driven “War Hero”; but only on the extended “Filibuster XXX” do things get truly hot. Fitting of its title, the first seven minutes serve as a warm up to business at hand: calling out the G.O.P. for its many flaws. Though it lacks the timely bite of “Indictment,” their previous political jam, “Filibuster” gets the body moving and ready to menacingly shake fists at any nearby suits. Musically Security defies its title and flouts expectations of Antibalas’ abilities. Whether they hold on to this current aesthetic is irrelevant; Security suggests whatever they do will be moving.
Antibalas, “Beaten Metal”