Rainbow-Arabia-Boys

It begins with a world music melange of keyboard swathes and Enya filtered through Lady Black Mambozo; half-speed Foals’ guitar rhythms and Fever Ray enunciation. It’s not immediately impressive but as title tracks go, it’s totally compelling. And far from just setting an early tone, ‘Boys and Diamonds’ initial intrigue quickly turns up regular flashes of genius.

Away from the barracking tribal rhythms, bongos and drizzling synth, singer Tiffany’s treated vocals add a breathy, sultry quality to husband Dan’s lush Casio-based build-ups. It’s a combination used to striking on effect on ‘Mechanical’; with bleak, sparse intent on ‘This Life Is Practice’; and to echoing, anthemic pop brilliance on ‘Without You’. Self-billed as ‘ethnotronic’ and drawing on inspiration from the sounds of Cambodia, Sumatra, India and Iraq, Rainbow Arabia, unsurprisingly, have a firm foundation in the cultural and obscure. That their name intimates a sense of global inclusion is apt. That their debut album is simply otherworldly is a real joy.

By Reef Younis

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