Super Fu are the trio of Richard Hall, Paul Withey, and Sarah Lazenby, and producing this, their self-titled debut long-player, is how they remained sane during last year`s lockdowns. There are ten tracks in total – well, eight plus one skit and one reprise – split between instrumentals and “proper” songs. The album is sequenced like a journey from sunset through to twilight, with kick and cocktails hitting simultaneously.
I`m not sure who’s responsible for what here, but there’s considerable musicianship on show. From funky clavinet fills and organ flashes (should there be an “oh-er” there?), to thunder-thumbed bass strings, and some serious electric axe chops. On Supreme Being a tropical idiophone taps out time. The track itself is a sexy, gentle, bump and grind. Elysian Mind boasts bongos, and a lead guitar lick, that perhaps lifted a little inspiration from Spandau Ballet`s True. Piano and sultry sax add to the tune`s overall mid-`80s hep cat, Animal Nightlife, Sade, Le Beat Route in San Antonio vibe. These non-vocal cuts are at their most epic on Super OK. Beginning with blues picking, it quickly gains a stadium rock stomp, an Italo arpeggio, and space age synths. The dueling overdubs had me head-banging, shaking my long – admittedly grey / white – hair.
The standouts on the LP, however, are the ones with Sarah’s voice upfront. The first of these is Zero Gravity, a slice of slo-mo balearic / cosmic pop, which opens the album with the nostalgic sound of a sampled summer beach, echoes of folks having fun. Calming kalimba and a whistling refrain combine to create the initial hook – but then bang! all of a sudden in comes a full orchestra. Stay Here – a previous single – is a brilliant, bleep heavy ballad, smart, smart, street soul. Moon Lovers is jazz-funk, bedroom boogie, again channelling Jazzie B and Nellee H`s beats, but also hunting jacket and Farah slack-clad favourites like Level 42 and Linx.
Super FU was released on Wednesday, June 30th, and can be ordered directly from Paper Recordings.