Saturday, 19 August 2017

EP: Fehdah - Like No Other

Fehdah Like No Other
Photo: Moira Reilly

Info: Fehdah is an eight piece future afro soul band led by Emma Garnett. The music combines Emma’s African roots with her and her band’s irresistible hip hop and funk forays to create a sound that’s simultaneously forward looking and referential to the past.

Known previously for lending her smooth vocals to the likes of Manden Express, RiZA, and Loah, and her collaborations with Ben Bix, Emma is joined by a star-studded lineup featuring members of Meltybrains?, Danny G & the Major 7ths, Tig Linn and more. 

Maynooth, Co. Kildare act Fehdah released her debut EP, Like No Other, on Hipdrop Records last week. Opening with the gorgeous and mellow sounds of its title-track, we are treated to multiple genres in one place, from soft soul to hip hop and Afro-beats, it's a transcendental journey that effortlessly blends into itself. Contemporary sounds recall Michael Kinawuka's backing band and surprisingly a dash of Fever Ray's 2009 self-titled album (specifically 'When I Grow Up').

Second track 'Money' affirms that mellow vibe, slick acoustic picking and an instantly appealing groove sound elicit strong feelings of happiness in the listener. Once again Fehdah and band control the direction of mood and tempo with absolute precision, keys and bass are particularly to the fore in providing the funk to go with the groove and it's another very strong track.

'What Have I Done' dives deep into 70's soul and funk with a contemporary pop and rn'b twist. Garnett's vocal is understated but powerful in its own way here and I'm conscious of overusing the term mellow at this stage. Closing with 'Kathmandu', Fehdah ensures a strong finish is on the cards, this is more than just soul, funk, and rn'b, it's also bone fide disco that demands to be danced to, the sway is natural and there's a very healthy dose of romance about the track. 

As a massive fan of 70's music, a decade I feel music was at its ground-breaking creative and experimental zenith, I was never going to not love Like No Other, it would have been impossible. But the best thing is knowing that I've enjoyed this collection of songs because they stand on their own in terms of quality, not because they sound like something I might like. I love this EP, and I know I'll find even more reasons to with every listen.

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