Touring can suck the life out of most bands, but not Maribou State. Following the success of their stellar 2015 debut album ‘Portraits’, the band headed out on a lengthy world tour to celebrate and promote it. But this experience was also the catalyst for the future. During and after, the British duo scoured the planet for inspiration, taking field recordings of the cities they would conquer – Delhi, Sydney and Lisbon to name a few – and use them as inspiration for their second album, ‘Kingdoms In Colour’, a kaleidoscopic triumph.
This globe-trotting attitude seeps into this record at every turn. Take ‘Turnmills’, for example, a thumping club-ready hit that samples the Kashmere Stage Band,a cult ’70s school band from Houston, Texas led by teacher Conrad O. Johnson. On ‘Vale’, a sample from Belgian jazz singer Melanie de Baliso’s ‘I Feel You’ retains its soothing sentiment, but is emboldened by its smart usage.
It feels like a record made by committee, but that plays to its strengths. The planet lives and breaths in this album via original recordings from across borders and samples that span decades, but they’ve invited some pals along to elevate this already immensely talented group. Frequent collaborator Holly Walker shines on several of the tracks, including ‘Slow Heat’, while US funk group Khruangbin lend their services for one of the album’s most intriguing moments, ‘Feel Good’.
‘Nervous Tics’, featuring Walker, is perhaps the finest thing the group have ever produced. Featuring an original recording of the band playing a Guzheng, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument in a music store in Beijing, the arrangement is glorious. But it’s heightened by Walker’s pleas for us to reconnect with each other, and place the value of emotional connection over superficial crutches: “You control your heartbeat, but you can’t shut down”.
Take a deep breath, lay back and soak in the technicolour empire Maribou State have crafted on this album – you’ll feel at one with our world for it.