Je Suis France - Afrikan Majik
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Je Suis France
Afrikan Majik

Je Suis France is a collective of nine musicians who started out in one area (Athens, Georgia, roughly) only to find themselves living in different places writing music before finally converging again to create the sprawling album that is Afrikan Majik. Taking a look at the absurdist artwork (and seeing adopted names like "The Lord" and "Ice" for members of the band), it's pretty clear from the start that the twelve tracks and hours worth of music on the release are going to be all over the place, and the group certainly doesn't disappoiknt.

In fact, just to test out the listeners moxie, the group starts things off with the sixteen-minute "Sufficiently Breakfast," a spazzy astral kraut jam that features everything from bongos to filtered vocals to insanely overdriven guitars and freaked-out synth breakdowns. "Virtual Heck" follows, and it's a three-minute slab of electronic-enhanced power pop that completely shirks any hints given in the first track while zooming down much poppier corridors.

That's pretty much how the rest of the album goes too, with track after track of unpretentious, unpredictable, and often fun songs that touch on everything from progressive rock ("Whalebone") to sloppy, screaming grunge-touched tracks ("101 Miles And Runnin") and overdriven electronic pop ("The Love Of The France"). Essentially, it sounds sorta like what you'd get if six guys exchanged jams and song ideas while living across the country from one another then came together and banged everything out while trying to get all the pieces to fit together (which is basically what happened).

While the insano-factor leads to a lot of fun, it also leads to some serious head-scratching, and a bit of restraint probably would have been in good order during a couple places on the release. The eight-minute "Feeder Band" sounds like a couple people getting way too infatuated with the sound of analogue synths and releasing it for the world to hear, while "Chemical Burns" is a bit too nutty for its own good at times (sounding like a jug band doing so-cal rock). Invigorating at times (the android-rock of "Wizard Of Points" out-Trans Am's Trans Am) and frustrating at others, Afrikan Majik is jam band music for those who think that most jam band music is boring. Whee.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2007-06-07 21:31:00