Transcontinental duo The Very Best redefines the conservative concept of world music into a progressive, global fusion. Their sophomore effort, MTMTMK plays like Graceland for the modern age. The paired down twosome of Swedish-born, London-based producer Johan Hugo and Malawian vocalist/drummer Esau Mwamwaya recorded MTMTMK wholly in Africa. Instead of the album becoming overwhelmingly African in tone, it has a solid balance of Hugo’s cutting edge dancefloor sensibilities and Mwamwaya’s indigenous leanings. Chanting tribal vocals and harmonies over twerping electro bleats and super-club-ready expanding basslines are the blueprint for MTMTMK, exemplified in the fiery numbers “Rudeboy” and “Adani.” MTMTMK features recognizable collaborators such as Baaba Maal on the psychedelic, Indian-scented “Bantu” (somewhere George Harrison is smiling) and K’Naan on “We OK”—which is one of the more dated and predictable sounding songs on MTMTMK. Pop masters Taio Cruz and Bruno Mars contribute songwriting on the radio-sculpted, flossed-out “Rumbae” and the aforementioned “We OK,” respectively. The Very Best, however, are at their best when they rely on their own ideas. And MTMTMK has plenty of those.

Written By: Lily Moayeri