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320 kbps, LAME-encoded
Surfacing from a 2-year hiatus, Lack of Afro (aka Adam Gibbons) is back to reclaim his crown as the king of funk and soul. His new album Square One, sees Lack of Afro in triumphant, defiant mood, emerging bruised but unbowed
Following two years battling addiction and a marriage breakdown, Lack of Afro returns firing on all cylinders with his eighth studio album, Square One, set for release on 8th September via his own label Bastion Music Group. Finding inspiration in his recent trip to the US to produce at the legendary FAME Studios at Muscle Shoals (and with his first US tour on the horizon), this is an album full of hope, optimism and good times.
“Square One refers to a fresh start - a clean slate. My life had become incredibly chaotic around the release of 'I'm Here Now'. I was battling addiction and a marriage breakdown. It was just after the first lockdown and things quickly went downhill from there - they started to spiral badly and I found myself in rehab, twice. Recovery didn't happen for me straight away - it's been a long road but thankfully I'm now over a year sober, my life is back on track and I'm so proud of Square One. I think of it as my comeback album because in the depths of the dark times and when I was desperately struggling to stay afloat, to even stay alive, I genuinely thought that I would never make music again. I'm so grateful for this.”
The Lack of Afro story began in 2006. Unbeknownst to Adam, his song Wait A Minute had been uploaded to the Ninja Tune Forum by a friend, where it caught the attention of Jon Sheppard (A&R at Freestyle Records at the time). The resulting single went onto be one of the label’s fastest selling singles and set the blueprint for his debut album, 2007’s Press On. Having recently re-issued the album to celebrate its 15-year anniversary, memories of that early recording process came back him during the making of Square One.
“It was just me in the studio, playing around with ideas, laying down parts if I could, then getting other musicians in to play them if I couldn't. Honestly, I was just happy to be making music. There's a joy in this record I think, it's tangible in certain tracks and you can feel its positivity. It's a celebration of being alive, being able to feel again.”
The first cut to emerge from these sessions was Wide Open, and saw Lack of Afro lay a marker down, announcing his return with pounding drums, stabbing horns and spoken word samples underneath a killer wah-wah guitar melody. Wide Open was swiftly followed by the out and out party anthem Let It All Out featuring long term collaborators Wax & Herbal T. The timeless All Night features the incredible vocal talent that is Jack Tyson-Charles.
“What a vibe – Jack sure brought the heat with the vocal and honestly, it's probably one of my favourite tracks I've done. Jack and I hadn't worked together for nearly 10 years, but when we got together in the studio, we were right back there and the magic happened.”
Loving Arms is a particularly heartfelt track that Adam admits to shedding a few tears over. With Greg Blackman providing the vocals, it’s a song of pure emotion, joy and celebration and one that Adam compares to material he would have included on his debut Press On. Automatic Lovin' has been years in the making, having first been conceived by George Cooper and Adam just before being invited to FAME Studios. The album they set out to make there never materialized. However, the song endured, and now it rocks with HOLMES on vocals and The Haggis Horns boys adding extra spice to the track.
Adam’s visit to Muscle Shoals has clearly influenced the album’s sound. FAME Studio’s musical legacy is one of the most remarkable stories in American music history. Blending rhythm and blues, gospel, country and rock, the studio has influenced generations of musicians and listeners around the world. Soul, jazz, disco, hip hop - all have melded together to make Lack of Afro’s music what it is.
“I got invited to FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals to record, which was an amazing experience. There's something about that place - the history, the legacy, the music that has been recorded there, the musicians that have stood where I stood in the studio. It did something to me that I can't explain, made me feel like I was worthy to still be doing this despite all that I'd gone through.”
With a career spanning over 17 years now, one that seen his music appear on films and TV shows around the world and rack up millions of streams online, Adam, like so many, had to go back to Sqaure One, overcoming numerous challenges and setbacks. And in doing so he had delivered his most accomplished album yet and is ready to hit the road with his band. With a renewed sense of inspiration and energy in his craft, and he is determined to keep the funk alive and kicking.
- 1 01 Enter The Ring (feat. DJ Yoda) 3:11 Buy
- 2 02 Let It All Out (feat. Wax & Herbal T) 3:27 Buy
- 3 03 All Night (feat. Jack Tyson-Charles) 3:51 Buy
- 4 04 Loving Arms (feat. Greg Blackman) 3:25 Buy
- 5 05 Least Favourite Wonder (feat. Dare Club) 3:33 Buy
- 6 06 Wide Open 4:01 Buy
- 7 07 Amigos (feat. Too Many T's) 3:34 Buy
- 8 08 Looking At The Love (feat. Greg Blackman) 3:48 Buy
- 9 09 Automatic Lovin' (feat. HOLMES) 4:35 Buy
- 10 10 Not For You (feat. Alyssa Marie & Jack Tyson-Charles) 3:17 Buy
- 11 11 Browsing YouTube 2:40 Buy
- 12 12 Go Free 3:52 Buy
- Lack Of Afro
- Press On - 15 Year Anniversary - LTD Edition Organic Cotton T-shirt
- The Bastion Music Group
- Release Date
- March 11, 2022