Album Review Ibeyi - Spell 31

Exploring identities past and present playfully, and with immediacy.

Ibeyi - Spell 31

“Twins are the same / It’s a cliche.” There’s every chance that - twins; Afro-French Cubans; daughters of decorated musicians - Ibeyi’s work would be attributed to explorations of identity even if they didn’t mention any at all. But on third album ‘Spell 31’ they do just this in a manner that’s playful, and with immediacy. ‘Sister 2 Sister’, from which that lyric is taken, also features the line “Singing along with Shakira / Washing our souls in the river,” at once describing their relationship with each other and, as the band’s Lisa-Kaindé put it when talking about the Pa Salieu-featuring ‘Made Of Gold’, “conveying our reconnection to [our ancestors’] power.” The Ghanaian-British rapper is one of a handful of guests here, each of whom allow Ibeyi to reflect the past and present simultaneously. Jorja Smith joins in on the slinky, Greek mythology-referencing ‘Lavender & Red Roses’, while a star turn comes from BERWYN, who adds a contemporary verse to a mesmerising cover of Black Flag’s 1981 anthem, ‘Rise Above’.


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