This electic album from Balkan Beat Box is far from well within the boundaries of traditional Balkan music – as their name may suggest. Their heavy electronic basslines and wild wizardry connecting saxophone (courtesy of Ori Kaplan), horns, clapped electric beats, mixed with the Balkan vocal madness of Tomer Yosef, whilst whirlwind in nature and confusing on paper, is actually surprisingly fun to listen to.
If I had to describe it to someone that had never heard it before (and seeing as I’m writing this review, I guess I am) I’d have to say that the ‘Shout It Out’ record lives somewhere along the latitudinal lines of Middle Eastern funk hip hop-cum-ska.
Now that I come to think about it, the driving elements of Middle Eastern music, that up and down beat that makes you move your shoulders like you’re at a Bar Mitzvah in May, is pretty similar to the driving elements of ska. Imagine Madness meets the Middle East via L.A. ‘Hard Worker’ has a fantastic horn line that leads the listener through the track. There’s a guest appearance from A-WA on ‘Kum Kum’ who trades vocal blows (in a good sense) with Yosef and the punchy bassline and heavy kick drum drives this track home.
This is by no means a normal album, and that’s the way it should be. Each track is full of intrigue and you’re not sure what to expect next. With every twist and turn there’s a new lease of life and we think it’s an enthralling ride through a mix of cultures, which you don’t see every day.