Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Angola Soundtrack [Analog Africa, 2010]
These 18 carefully sequenced, thoroughly annotated tracks are the musical spoor of the 12-year leadup to a cruelly delayed independence that was followed immediately by three decades of civil war. Thus it's even more poignant than the soon-to-be-dashed hopes you hear in the early pop of other African nations. Given its Lusophone provenance, its Latinisms are remarkably un-Brazilian, dominated by son, merengue, and especially the rumba-twice-removed of the big boys just north in Congo. Song per se doesn't count for much--singing often seems an afterthought to the basic mode of trebly guitar atop indigenous polyrhythms, crude and palpably rural compared to the Congolese jams it emulates and often evokes. But the sense of possibility is undercut only by the occasional hint of saudade. B+