Album Review: Nico and Vinz – Black Star Elephant

Nico and Vinz show their clear African influences on the intro to this album, being with a capella tribal singing, then move right into their big pop hit ‘Am I Wrong’. Theirs is excellent, uplifting pop music; full of big, belting choruses, backing vocal chants and tribal drumming.

Between their pop anthems, most of them easily potential singles and big hits, the album is punctuated with examples of the traditional source of their music with stripped-down drum segments, choral singing and guitar line samples. Members Nico Sereba and Vinz Dery, of Norwegian-Ivorian and Norwegian-Ghanaian descent respectively, take clear influences from both the strong pop music tradition of Scandinavia and the soulful tradition of West Africa. Suitably, the examples in this album range from dance, to soul, to rap, to spoken word.

You get the feeling that they set out to make an album not only full of big tunes, but one that was distinctly theirs, and here they have succeeded. In a pop industry that often seems to have a depressing “that’ll do” attitude to it’s music, it’s great to hear something so danceable that is so clearly a labour of love.

[Clare Patterson – @clurrpatterson]

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