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HiM 

Peoples
Bubble Core

 

 

Since Doug Scharin forged the group in the wake of his stints with 1990s indie rockers such as June of '44 and Codeine, HiM has feinted and shuddered around the post-rock fringes of Afro-beat, dub reggae and spiritualistic African atmospherics. But with Peoples ... and the additions of Antibalas founder Martin Perna, Chicago Underground Duo's Rob Mazurek, Senegalese kora player Abdou M'boup and others ... HiM has established itself as not just post-rock, but post-everything.

 

 

Psychedelic thumb-piano choirs recall both the drive of Thomas Mapfumo and the wide-eyed ethereality of Stella Chiweshe. Heavenly choruses recall flower-power-ish '70s groove groups such as Rotary Connection, while the quadruple-digit time signatures would make Fela drummer Tony Allen blush. Peoples plays as though geographic borders, musical genres and historical eras were as compacted into the group's cramped Tokyo studio as a bibliophile's shelves: references subtle in impact, but wide-ranging in handy availability.

 

By the time you reach the vague, somewhat shapeless mbira, kora and cello soundscape "As We Were Once," Peoples has imploded its own expectations to the point that the 10-minute workout of album apex "In These Times" arrives as a welcome eccentricity ... a thoroughly comprehensible Afro-beat groove. Peoples swerves from the lightest touch to the heavy-handed in its spiritual freedom and musical ancient-to-future vibe. But never without hinting to the listener that this is something fully formed, uniquely extravagant, and worth plumbing the depths of. ...

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