London Highbury Garage

They make [a]Massive Attack[/a] look like [B]SMALL OBJECTION[/B]...

Da heavy funk has arrived. The expanding soulburst [a]Cuba[/a] groove monsters, based around core duo CHRIS ANDREWS and ASHLEY BATES, kick off their Brixton set by blowing the walls out and reducing the near-locality to hurricane’d horizontals. Their guitar riffs are Wagnerian, their basslines are volcanic. Then they bring on the three-piece horn section and start to get serious.

Under normal circumstances it would not be wise to trust an effects-pedals-and-beats bunch where the guitarist performs in bare feet and the sample’n’decks operative acts like a Southern Baptist preacher with his testicles on fire, but Cuba transcend format with their intensity. MAU, their superfly wraparound rapper and occasional frontman, ups their soul brother credentials with unity anthem verbals on the ‘Cross The Line’. Andrews, meanwhile, can barely contain his epiphanies, grabbing a guitar to hammer away with his fists and throwing both arms in the air as the horns point Godwards.

The lad is the most mad-fer-it sampler-tapper ever, and fortunately the phat architecture supports his looning. Deeper into the monumental instrumentals their rampart of sound proves itself sufficiently cross-latticed to knock the socks off film-score buffs, manic bassheads, SPIRITUALIZED loons and, erm, Primal Screamadelica fans.

“I ain’t never heard of Primal Scream!” spits Andrews in the lull before the streamrollerdrugdubpunksoulbonfire of ‘Havana’. Clearly that’s because he’s been rendered deaf by Cuba‘s stadium beats. Yet they need fear no comparisons. They make MASSIVE ATTACK look like SMALL OBJECTION.