London via Leeds funk and soul collective Nubiyan Twist has got everybody all gassed for their upcoming album, Freedom Fables, with the latest single, “Buckle Up.” The latest release is a very smooth ride from the opening horn swell, through the funked-up strut of an intro as it eases straight into lead singer Nick Richards’ soulful timbre. He sings about getting stuck in a rut and finding the strength to dig himself out of it. As a bitter cynic, I would usually scoff at this type of motivational lecture, but the groove grabbed me and chucked me about until I was ready to accept the power of self-help into my life.
The guest turn for this track comes courtesy of saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch, who employs both talents here to swoop in and steal the show. He starts off with a verse full of intricate rhyme schemes and a tricky flow, reaffirming the core message of the track; “Every old pattern won’t batten no hatches down I’m trying to grab a hold of hope, snatching / Trying to focus climbing over mountains, holding ropes and ladders when this life is trying to throw me backwards.”
Kinch adds a final flourish by closing out the track with a blistering, minute-long alto sax solo. The differing dynamics between the group and the accompanying instrumentals complement each other seamlessly. Twist’s driving, precise funk, and Kinch’s looser jazz stylings, both in his vocals and sax, blend together joyously, raising the anticipation for the album even more. Roll on February 5th. The world might have even sorted itself by then, who knows.