(Stones Throw Records)
When Stones Throw put out Sudan Archives' Sink in 2018, it was so sensational it just changed everything. Back then, those half dozen songs proved to be by far the best collection of tunes that year. It was an epoch making release. I'd never really heard anything remotely like it. Who had? Who knew? Racously raw, experimental, insidiously melodic, idiosyncratic and wildly accessible all at once. SA's preternaturally defiant lyricism, her atmospheric vocals, the too cool to be schooled in any school elevation of street style to art... And of course the fiddle. Oh wow! The fiddle. What's not to love?
While the world was falling for Sink, Sudan was touring Europe pretty much on her own, or heading to Africa and making drum loops with schoolkids in Ghana. Things changed pretty quickly and she was having trouble, as she said, getting her community college assignments in on time.
So, what if Sudan Archives in 2019 put out a record way, way better than Sink? Could it be possible? What are you gonna do? And so, Athena, a most apt motherless goddess, more gigantic and more ready than ever, and yet, still rueful, as SA opines on the LPs opener, 'Did You Know' ...
"When I was a little girl,
I thought I could rule the world..."
Of course, I am not sure that ultimately, she can't/won't.
Glorious oh so glorious... full of insistent, swooping, non-conforming violins. A deelite. 'Confessions' is an infectiously streets ahead popfantastic catchy hook-laden piece of rnb and will be number one at the outsideleft hq for weeks... 'Iceland Moss' ... Gosh this is the second time in a week I've encountered Icelandic Moss... Is SA a fan of Olaf Eliasson, or just moss. Or just neither? Or just both? Athena is a great, straight up irresistible, multi-layered, sophistic collection of music either way. It's really making me want to see what I could do if I got that SP404 out of the bottom drawer... Something. But not something like this. So... Look, if you haven't urgently sent all of your spare money to the Labour Party this month - without hesitation, Sudan Archives is what you should be doing with it.