Afro Cluster – The Reach

Welsh Music Prize, Mercury Music Prize, Brit Awards, Mobo Awards and any other music award ceremonies out there I hope you are all taking notice of The Reach the debut album from Cardiff based collective Afro Cluster.  It has been a long wait for this album to arrive but now that it is out there in the world the wait has been worth every minute.   This is one of those albums that we will be talking about for a long time to come, and one that should sweep up as many awards as possible. The Reach is a collection of twelve songs that have been crafted by incredibly talented and imaginative musicians.  The music is uplifting, the horn sections will give you endless joy, the rhythms, beats and melodies are full of soul, funk and hip hop all wrapped up with some great pop moments.   The lyrics throughout the album are thought provoking and send out an important message to the world.   Album opener Beasts of One Nation instantly tells us what the album is all about; a message of peace, love, education, understanding and how we all need to live as one nation.   The lyrics highlight the importance of teaching, passing on to the next generation and not judging a book by its cover.   Black Hole contains some funky, uplifting sounds that will be sure to lift your mood, the lyrics sees the band question decisions that have been made “Are we really meant for each other”.   Within Black Hole Afro Cluster also deal with inequalities in society “Council estate of mind / won’t let me forget where I came from / remind me we are not fed from the same spoon”. The Reach continues with one great song after another.   The words cool and groovy instantly jump to mind when Criminal starts, a musical vibe that will grab your attention and allow you to again focus on the message in the lyrics “racial inequality still exists on every corner”, the passion in the delivery of the lyrics “cold outside yet you label me a criminal” really will make you stop and think about how messed up this world still is.   Back Into It Ft. Ty will definitely make you smile and go a long way to lifting the mood of the nation.  This song reminds us to stop, turn the news off, be mindful and take it one step at a time.   Further inspiration follows with Ikebe an absolute masterpiece of a song that allows us to look at the future in a more hopeful way.   Previous generations may have messed up but if we invest time in the next generation “plant seeds to help them grow new ways to break the mould” there may still be time. AC Factor has late night feel to it that will allow you to drift off to a very quiet, relaxing and peaceful place.   Cardigan tells us a fascinating tale of recording a studio session and life on the road gigging in West Wales.   Foot to The Floor is a brilliant infectious song that will instantly see you moving and grooving and taking yet another important life message from these wonderful musicians “Don’t let nobody tell you how to live your life”.   Young Shall Grow ft. Magugu and Asha-Jane highlights the importance of ensuring that young people have opportunities, are supported to live their lives in a way that matters to them and have a realistic chance of achieving their dreams.  Ensuing a value base is shared throughout societies, through the generations to ensure the world we live in is one filled with peace and love.  That sounds like the world that I want to be part of. If like me you have been faced with the challenges of home schooling lately, I can seriously recommend using music to inspire and educate children The Reach by Afro Cluster will certainly be part of my daughters education.   Have a listen and buy yourself a copy now I am certain you will fall in love with this album and it is one that will stay with you for a long time to come. 

#afrocluster #AlbumReview #thereach

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