Hailing from Paris, Les Frères Smith is an 11-piece Afrobeat group that has been making hypnotic, funky music for two decades now. In their most recent album, Mutation, the group crosses the styles of highlife, funk, and Ethio-jazz while incorporating cultural nods to countries throughout Africa and the Middle East. This new release is similar to the group’s previous two albums in many ways: each is funky, danceable, and pays tribute to the roots of the Afrobeat tradition.
The album begins with “No Talk Talk” and “Histoires de Dingue,” immersing listeners in the heart of Africa. The feature of Seun Kuti on “No Waiting” transports listeners to Nigeria, while “Arouahhh” featuring Abdul is a Middle Eastern inspired track with more electronic aspects.
With Mutation, Les Frères Smith prove that although their music has expanded to include more funk and jazz influences from a range of countries in West Africa and beyond—a mutation they call Afrikanbeat—their sense of celebration, appreciation for cross-cultural musical traditions, and passion for sharing groovy music remains unchanged.
Reviewed by Chloe McCormick