Fronted by British-Nigerian vocalist Eno Williams, the eight-piece band was founded in 2013 with the idea of combining the unique sound of the Ibibio language that Williams spoke growing up in Nigeria with both traditional West African and more modern electronic musical elements. Their eponymous debut album, with single ‘Let’s Dance’, was filled with full-fat funk, outlandish pop and London-tinged club music, and caught the ears of tastemakers around the world. 2017’s follow-up, Uyai, deepened the cross-cultural alchemy of its predecessor, focussing on themes of liberation and power, while 2019’s Doko Mien saw New York new wave and disco pushed further to the forefront of the band’s eclectic sound.
Flash forward three years and it’s nearly time for album number four: Electricity. Ibibio Sound Machine and Hot Chip – both fixtures of the London music scene, bound by a love for electronic dance music – recorded the album at Hot Chip’s studio. “This one started out as an idea to mix Afrobeat with Giorgio Moroder–style synth vibes”, says Williams about the above title track. “The end section with Alfred’s korego (Ghanaian 2-stringed folk guitar) solo was already there when we got into the studio, but then we added the big kick drum that happens underneath and Owen from Hot Chip’s crazy drum machine percussion at the end, which gave it a futuristic Afro feel when mixed with the more talking drum parts.”
As you’d expect from a collaboration between these two mighty bands, ‘Electricity’ is a fully-fledged banger, as are the other singles we’ve heard so far, from the giddy, LCD Soundsystem-leaning ‘All That You Want’ to the more sinister ferocity of ‘Protection From Evil’. If these tracks are anything to go by, the band’s fourth album is going to be a force to be reckoned with. It’s out on 25 March, giving you a good week to wrap it around your ears before the Band on the Wall show.