When my computer crashed last year it took Extra Golden’s album “Hera No Ma” with it before I had a chance to listen (although we did manage to get “Obama” onto the New Song Daily before the collapse), and I also missed them when they passed through London a month or so ago.
While the first problem is only sort of my fault (I guess I could’ve backed everything up), it only took about half the first track to make me realize that the latter pass makes me a jackass. “Gimakiny Akia” is seven minutes and forty-five seconds of rump-shaking fun, based around infectious and energetic percussion and a sweet guitar lick, and it ends with a wonderful laugh. The second track, “Fantasies of the Orient”, is a bilingual groover that makes good use of the organ, which lends just a hint of psychedelic flavor to proceedings.
What impresses me about Extra Golden is that while they seem to rock with all guns blazing, with quick guitar lines and an extremely busy percussionist, the songs never sound heavy or overburdened. There’s a lot of space in all the musical flourishes, even when it’s not travelling along in staccato riffs, as on “Piny Yore Yore”, and that nimbleness, along with the quick pace of most of the songs, leaves me wanting to dance on my tiptoes. Even the music of “Ukimwe”, a song about AIDS, with an obviously plaintive vocal performance (I have no idea what the actual words are), features guitar lines that trip lightly through their patterns.
This six-song, thirty-seven minute album is basically joy in a box, and it sounds like the musicians had fun making it. It would behoove you not to miss them when they come to your town, and it would behoove you to make a backup copy of the album after you’ve downloaded it. Or just get the CD, which comes in a nice package and is worth the extra three bucks.