mon 26/02/2024

Album: A Certain Ratio - 1982 | reviews, news & interviews

Album: A Certain Ratio - 1982

Album: A Certain Ratio - 1982

Post-punk veterans’ build on their funky resurgence

'1982': more than enough to get anyone on their feet and dancing with a big smile

1982 is only A Certain Ratio’s third album this century but it’s one that’s brimming with funky vibes that are more than enough to get anyone on their feet and dancing with a big smile – not that it doesn’t have plenty to say about the state of things in 2023 too. In fact, 1982 builds upon the band’s recent resurgence to such an extent that you might imagine that A Certain Ratio were a new act, not one that has been around for pushing 50 years.

Not ones to stand still, the present line-up of Martin Moscrop, Donald Johnson and Jes Kerr have brought neo-soul singer Ellen Beth Abdi on board and, especially on the smooth but hip-swinging “Constant Curve” and the trippy psychedelic funk of “Afro Dizzy”, she makes an intoxicating impression. Elsewhere, “Tombo in M3” lays down a beatific acid jazz groove, while “Tier 3” sounds like it’s been culled from the soundtrack of an old blaxploitation movie. The glorious title track may betray A Certain Ratio’s post-punk roots with a New Order-like vibe but “Waiting on a Train”, which features the Mancunian vowels of MC Chunky as well as Ellen Beth Abdi, and “A Trip in Hulme” bring things right up to date with a somewhat jaundiced view of the UK. Backed by squelchy synths and a lively drum machine, “A Trip in Hulme” asks “Have you had dinner? Yeah, from a skip”, while the laidback but distinctly moody “Waiting on a Train” points out “There is no plan at all”. It all must feel like a case of déjà vu from when the band first got together.

Needless to say, 1982 isn’t all sunshine and album closer, “Ballad of ACR” splices together some Oasis-flavoured Britpop with, rather incongruously, hard bop jazz – which really doesn’t work. Still, if you don’t experiment with weird ideas, you’ll never come upon anything new and interesting.

You might imagine that A Certain Ratio were a new act, not one that has been around for pushing 50 years

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