Could We Be More

Brownswood • 2022

London Jazz and no end. Three years after their first EP, the eight-member collective Kokoroko presents their debut album »Could We Be More«. With their style, which is deeply indebted to Afrobeat and Highlife but cannot be reduced to any of these two things, the musicians have created the most relaxed and spectacular record of the year so far. »Tojo« kicks things off and could easily be mistaken for an instrumental soul number if it weren’t for the loosened-up rhythms that let the horn sections flow as if by themselves. Their melodies have a mellow catchiness to them, which further enhances the unobtrusive polyrhythms. There are few hard edges in this music that could be mistaken for shallowness on cursory listening. However, that would be to misjudge the actual quality of Kokoroko. The fact that everything sounds so unstrained, accessible and harmonious, and that the various influences are so discreetly incorporated into their compositions, which sometimes use vocals, but mostly let the instruments speak, is very progressive. Just without the intimidating gestures and connoisseur checks at the main door. In case of doubt, you understand this music instantly with your body. The inspirations, from Fela Kuti to Ebo Taylor, may have helped. Kokoroko respond at equal level.