REVIEW: SMOD (with a long O, rhymes with “snowed”) is a trio of young Frenchmen of Malian descent. One of them, Sam Bagayoko, is the son of Malian superstars Amadou & Mariam, and they’ve received a huge boost here in the production work of mega-superstar Manu Chao (who produced Amadou & Mariam’s hit Dimanche A Bamako as well). SMOD describe their music as “African rap ‘n’ folk,” and that’s an apt label. The Manu Chao sound – the strumming guitars, super-catchy melodies, short motifs frequently repeated, rapid vocals half-sung and half-rapped – is in full evidence, all that’s missing are the police sirens. If you like Manu Chao and Amadou & Mariam (I’m a big fan of both), this is like getting a bonus new release from either of them.
REVIEWER: Bill Lupoletti
TOP TRACKS: 2 7 8 10
ALSO RECOMMENDED: 1 3 4 6 12 13