Title: A Simple Act of Faith
Label: Cherry Red
Release date: November 27, 2015
Formats: CD, LP, MP3
In November 2015, the British funk group Cymande released their first full-length LP since 1981. This new release, on London-based indie label Cherry Red, is slick and polished, more so than cuts from the group’s oft-sampled first self-titled release. Replacing the raw funk that characterized the band’s early output with slicker, post-quiet storm R&B is not necessarily a bad move for Cymande, given a much awaited comeback after a long hiatus. The process of developing a new sound for A Simple Act of Faith has resulted in a cohesive album, pulled off by a well-rehearsed band, with material suited to the members’ current professional status in a group getting back together. There are some glimmers of the Cymande’s signature diasporic bent, with lyrics declaring that “We are the children of the world” on the Afrobeat-tinged “Everybody Turn Rasta,” while the band slips into more conventional power-ballad territory on “No Weeping.” Some of the material on this record is inconsistent, but there are moments that the storied band’s brilliance shines through, such as on the consummately funky “All or Nothing,” with staccato wind stabs among interweaving funky guitar and bass lines or the slow burning funk of “Do It (This Time with Feeling).” A Simple Act of Faith is assurance to longtime fans of this cult band that it can still get down as well as a great initial foray for listeners new to Cymande’s work.
Reviewed by Matthew Alley