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Declan Kelly’s bio paints him as the boy from Bondi, but even a cursory listen puts him off the continent, soaking up soul, afro-funk, reggae – similarly, Adrift is an album which starts on the beach, with the sound of waves breaking, but never gives us the full Jack Johnson treatment, opting instead for full-band grooves. The band are something pretty phenomenal, owning the aforementioned musical spectrum – the Hammond organ played with that real Wailers flair – in the service of Kelly’s sometimes-flimsy songwriting. But no matter, ’cause it’s all about the funk, which they’ve got in spades. Soul-infused post-opener Rise to the Festival and Sanctimonious Moves, both have … damn fine moves, especially the latter, which despite its terrible name, has got to be the album highlight, rocking a horn section, West African guitar work, and a simple sexy lyrical turns im memoriam James Brown (there are at least two mentions of “boogaloo” here …). But there are dark moments, like the opening of Wishing Well, where Kelly insists “we’ve got to break free from what held us down / and start again”, and Tupaia, driven by the same kind of African rhythms that made NY no-wave so great.  Simple, danceable, and occasionally something more.

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