Extra Golden, Thank You Very Quickly
When did Captain Beefheart go East African?
Anyone who can't help but hear euphoric echoes of vintage American improvised rock in Afropop's entwined quicksilver guitars will flip their snood over Extra Golden's latest. After two albums and one long (and long-delayed) tour, Kenya musicians Onyango Jagwasi (vocals and charisma) and Onyango Wuod Omari (drums), alongside stateside indie rockers Ian Eagleson (guitar) and Alex Minoff (guitar), have removed the stitches from their collaboration. The result is a unique sound, bridging the gap between the Grateful Dead and Shirati Jazz, stars of Kenya's benga scene.
Nearly every one of these six tracks is a scorcher, but "Anyango," which may have listeners wondering when Captain Beefheart made it to East Africa, is an especially smoking concoction of raunchy acid-slide guitar with a mid-song punt into the stratosphere. Eagleson contributes "Fantasies of the Orient," which sets a stop-action fantasy amid the Kenyans' rapid-fire benga beats. The title track recalls the financial aid Extra Golden's fans sent to the Africans' families during the post-election violence that brutalized Kenya in 2008. Sung in both English and Luo, like much of the album, the track embeds a cautionary message in a beautiful brotherly groove: "So thank you very quickly, that's all I can say,/ You never know when you might be next."