ALBUM REVIEW: No Go Stop ‘Where We Are’


Bristol-based afrobeat ensemble, No Go Stop, release their second LP, ‘Where We Are’. A genre-bending affair that takes its influence from all facets of traditional protest music and combines them into a truly memorable record that is packed with soul.

Opening up the record is, ‘Flamingo’ with its crisp afrobeat stylings. The horn section combines blissfully with the flange driven guitar which dances from your speakers into your ears. The vocals, delivered by Marie Lister, soon come into play. They blend excellently into the tracks melodic structure with a cool confidence that elevates the track. There is real heart within the vocals, with their almost Amy Winehouse-esque inflections.

Following on from this is the titular track, ‘Where We Are’ which bursts out of the gate with a higher pace and a sense of urgency provided by the driving drumbeats. Before long the guitars and horns come back into play with a summer-tinged joy, which creates a brilliant juxtaposition with the darker lyrics. The cries for, “revolutionary action” being at odds with up-beat melody, it harkens back to the classic Fela Kuti protest songs of 1970’s.

‘Simple State’ and, ‘Shopping’ take the album in a different direction, with the later especially incorporating some classic old-school disco sounds. It opens with at a slower pace before the guitar breaks in with a riff straight from the CHIC playbook. It takes a while for the intro of the song to break which gives it an unpredictable, improvised feel. You’re never too sure where it will go next. As it reaches the chorus, the horns come into play and give the track an angular feel. There’s a sense of discomfort as Lister tells of the woes of consumerism, with the whole chorus having an uneasy feel.

Closing out the album is, ‘Born To Serve’ and with this the drums again take centre stage. They provide the tracks soulful driving force, with their upbeat tempo blending with the guitars slower tone. It closes the album on a melodic high point, with the inclusion of the organ within the chorus serving to enhance this rich, musical tapestry.

‘No Go Stop’ is an exceptional, modern day protest record. It wears its political statements on its sleeve whilst never losing sight of the soul that lies at the heart of afrobeat and its offshoots. It pays homage to the true greats of genre whilst feeling distinctly current and focused on the issues of our time. And most importantly of all, it’s an album that is packed top-to-bottom with sure fire floor fillers.