A group’s history can be inhibiting to a review, dictating the direction of the writing without focusing on the music at hand. This is especially true when tackling music by artists rediscovered after years in the musical wilderness. Thankfully, Zambian icons WITCH make things incredibly easy. Zango, their first album in over 39 years, follows their 2019 comeback documentary WITCH: We Intend To Cause Havoc and sees the group enter their second act revitalised, completely free from the weight of their past.
You’d forgive the legendary Zamrock group for resting on their laurels, but Zango regularly treads new ground. The album is a far groovier monster than anything from their extensive back catalogue. ‘By The Time You Realize’ and ‘Avalanche of Love’ maintain their signature psych rock edge while keeping more than one eye on the dance floor, elevating the album above pure intrigue towards something that is genuinely exciting on its own merit.
The funk flows effortless throughout, resulting in an album tailor-made for late summer. The sunny day synths of ‘Malango’ scream September barbecue, while you can almost hear the ice lollies being cracked out underneath the William Onyeabor-tastic beats of ‘Streets of Lusaka’.
By keeping one eye on the future, WITCH have ensured they won’t be defined by their past. Don’t call it a comeback. Zango proves there’s a new chapter ready to be written by this lot.