What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat? In short, that's the underlying vibe to the self-titled debut by Here Lies Man. This L.A. based quintet, founded and conceptualized by Marcos Garcia of Antibalas, brings his erudite experience of West African rhythms and music to the more riff-based foundations of heavy rock. The results are an incredibly catchy and refreshing twist on classic forms, without sounding forced and trite like some sort of mashup attempt. Here Lies Man merges and expands musical traditions organically, utilizing the talents of drummer Geoff Mann (son of jazz musician Herbie Mann) and a host of skilled musicians to make Garcia's vision a reality.
"The repetitive guitar figures that happen in Afrobeat music are very close to heavy rock guitar riffs," Garcia explains. "This music is based on the clave. It's the musical algorithm that the rhythms revolve around. It's what gives it integrity and provides the basis for the musical conversation that's happening. I knew I wanted it to be psychedelic and heavy, and I wanted to be expanding on a musical tradition rather than pretending to be creating something new."
That expansion is this brilliant, hazy, psychedelic, hook-laden eight-song masterwork.