El Michels Affair meets Liam Bailey: Ekundayo Inversions

This new album from singer Liam Bailey takes us back to John Peel shows, listening to music that led you to discover new bands and genres; it’s got that home-made feel that Peely liked, although everyone involved is a skilled musician.

This follows, as the album title suggests, Bailey’s 2020 studio album Ekundayo, and the theme is that poor old Liam is dry of ideas and motivation, appealing to El Michels in the short spoken intro: “Mate, you know how you’re just a wizard and that .. can’t you just wizard some stuff and take vocals from other things?” he whines in his Nottingham lad meets cockney geezer voice (we can’t get enough of this intro though, it’ll make you love the album).

El Michels is Leon Michels, founder of Big Crown Records. His clout is sufficient that Lee “Scratch” Perry makes an appearance.

The album is at heart dub with soul layered around it. Opener Conquer and Divide opens as hip hop / reggae but gets more soulful and smooth as it goes on; Bailey has a voice like honey. Amazing Women is replica vintage reggae from the 1960s, complete with scratchy brass. Bailey keeps popping up, to announce “the hi-hats and that” before the start of the purer dub of No One Else or just to shout “maaaaaaaaiiit!” at El Michels as Bailey’s mojo returns thanks to El’s wizard-like tendencies.

The album seems to be a mix of new songs and reworkings of songs from Ekundayo but the names have changed and honestly, life’s too short for us to go through compare track by track but Ekundayo itself is worth getting, not only for dub fans: Bailey sounds a lot like a lost Bloc Party album at times.

This is out on limited vinyl, normal vinyl and CD.

Well worth a listen if you like cool soulful music, dub or Bloc Party. We like it a lot.

Take a look here

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