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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/43d401257852f7475606ec78b5c3807750f0ebab.jpg SMOD

SMOD

SMOD

National
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
May 24, 2011

Like Sean Lennon and Rufus Wainwright, this African rap trio owe much to ma and pa — singer-guitarist Sam Bagayoko's parents are Malian pop stars Amadou & Mariam. Through them, the group met polyglot pop scientist Manu Chao, who produced SMOD's third record. SMOD carries Chao's signature psychedelic bounce: bulbous reggae bass lines, one-note melodies, dubby chants, video-game sound effects. The album brings Bagayoko's gorgeous West African-style guitar work (unsurprising, given dad's masterful chops) and a sweet French flow. U.S. fans may not understand a word beyond the "Yes!" shouted out repeatedly on "Les Diri­geants Africains." But musically, that sentiment pretty much sums it up.

Listen to "Les Dirigeants Africains":

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