Reviews Zone

Lack of Afro: I’m Here Now (LOA Records) CD out now – Vinyl on 14th August 2020



5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)



We get 10 delicious tracks which run to 31 mins and 44 seconds duration on the multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, re-mixer and DJ Adam Gibbons’ alter-ego, Lack of Afro’s seventh album.

Some album this is….

Featuring the excellent BBC6 Music-supported singles “Bad Ass Self” and “You Could Do Better”, and a talent-rich roster of US and UK collaborators supplying vocal goodness.

All the guest vocalists do a great job, really do, but there’s one singer among them who has really blown me away with her sensational contribution….Read on to find out who that is…

This is very strong material which blends funk, soul, r&b, jazz, hip-hop and more, and gives the guest vocalists perfect vehicles to shine – and all of them step up, indeed. One in particular…

If you are a fan of Vulfpeck  and Scary Pockets, you must get a load of these 10 classy cuts.

In February 2019, Adam ventured to a studio in South Devon in the UK, with recording engineer Pete Miles at the desk to start making the record. It was mixed and mastered by Lewis Hopkin. As regards production values and audio quality, the team knocked it out of the park.

Opener “Not A Problem” featuring Watsky and Alyssa Marie is, quite simply, a killer cut.

A couple of weeks ago, rapper and poet Watsky set a new world record for the longest continuous freestyle rap @ 33 hours and 33 minutes, raising more than $140,000 for Covid-19 relief.

“Not A Problem” is such a strong opening gambit, how do you follow that? Like this…

“You Could Do Better” has that Mark Ronson / Amy vibe. Great vocal and a superb piece of old skool soul song writing. Camila Recchio has sung on previous LOA stuff, and she kills it on “You Could Do Better”. US rapper Wax spits a few tasty bars.

“Bad Ass Self” is a previous single, picked up by BBC6.  In-the-pocket groove and another fab vocal, this time from New York rapper Kennzo. Kennzo was recommended to LOA by Lewis Hopkin.

Kennzo had been out of the business for a while, but he found his mojo when writing the vocals for “Bad Ass Self’. That turned out so well that he got a second cut on the record, “Magical Man”.

From “Bad Ass Self”, straight into song four: “Got My Number”. Jordan Stephens on vocals, and pretty much a gritty spoken-word approach.

But track five is where the magic happens. In the form of one of the best singers I have heard in ages: Ms. Mica Millar. She’s a Brit, from Manchester, was in a band called Red Sky Noise and dropped her first solo track in 2017. Mica really is sensational.

“Wait For Me” is a star vehicle for Mica’s jaw-dropping soul vocal. The song and the vocal could be a lost Gladys Knight or Etta James track, newly dug out of a dusty vault somewhere.

Marvellous Mica would give Joss Stone a run for her money. I just gotta find me some more Mica, and I understand an album from her is in the works. We will definitely be covering that one.

Change of genre for the next one, “Game Day,”, some vintage 60’s ‘go go meets surf sound’ vibes, an instrumental complete with horns, twangy guitars and a snare that’d have folk 10 doors down answering their front door!

On “Triumph”, Ric Flo and Elliott Cole share vocal duties. Nice job. Kennzo is up for his second stint at the mic, on “Magical Man”, the only track of the set that didn’t quite do it for me.

Penultimate track “Still Surviving”, featuring Herbal T and Elliott Cole, has a solid funky groove and is more Detroit than Devon. Top job on the vox, and the horns adding value.

The closer, “Speakers Erupt” is, as they say in trendy circles,  lit. A great way to end this very special collection of songs and performances. Alyssa Marie and husband Miles Grimez are bang on it with the vocal contributions on this cut.

Alyssa Marie featured on Lack of Afro’s album “Jack Of All Trades” on the cut, “Only You & Me”,  which also featured Camila Recchio.

Lack Of Afro’s recording career kicked off in 2006 with the debut single “Wait A Minute” on the Freestyle label. That hot track went on to appear on many compilations.

Debut album “Press On” dropped in 2007. “My Groove, Your Move”, the second album, saw the light of day in 2009.

2016 album “Hello Baby” was nominated for BBC6’s ‘Of The Year’ and was Top 10 in 21 countries in the iTunes r&b and soul chart.

Lack Of Afro has notched up seven albums, plus an instrumentals’ version of the album “Hello Baby”. Four on the Freestyle label and the rest on his own label, LOA Records.

Adam’s music has been used by film and TV producers on such networks such as the BBC, Fox, NBC, Sony Pictures, ABC and more….and on major labels Warner Brothers and Universal. The hit HBO US TV show “Entourage” and Hollywood movie “Magic Mike” feature his tracks.

The lyrical content across this fab new record, “I’m Here Now”, mostly themes self esteem, self-confidence and empowerment. We all need some of that right now, eh? It’s all positive stuff, and I am positive about my next comment…..

Adam Gibbons: An entire studio full of uber-creative musicians, songwriters and producers – all in the one body/brain. This gem of an album more than proves that theory.


By Simon Redley



1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’





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