When I was given this review to do, I wasn’t entirely sure if it would actually be any good. This of course was based entirely on the cover of this album that features a naked man with long hair and facial tattoos looking pensively into the distance. Such terrible snap judgements instantly bring the old proverb of ‘not judging a book by its cover’ to mind, although in this case it was a CD cover. But you get the idea. However within mere seconds of playing this album, I knew I would like, nay LOVE this album. And I do. I truly love this album. It’s glorious. It’s wonderful. It’s warm. It’s funky. It’s the balls….
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is just who/what is Ankit Love? This was the third question I had when presented with this CD to review (the first being, “Why is this man naked on this album cover?” and the second being, “Is that a pony tail?!”). Wonder no more! Ankit Love is a man with a mission, and that mission is to “radiate mystical vibrant love all over the world” according to his website. Ok, so that didn’t quite answer the question, and indeed may have sounded somewhat mental to folk (although those who think so have no soul). Born in New Delhi in India, Ankit Love moved to London a child and was schooled there before relocating to Los Angeles to study music and art. And it seems that said studying has paid off, with the release of Forever, his debut album.
The very first track of the album, ‘People Are My Favourite Things’, was released last year as a single on iTunes, and it’s a fantastic snapshot of what Ankit Love is all about. It kicks off with some funky bass and piano, something that is littered throughout the album, before Ankit Love himself spits some lyrics at us, his delivery reminiscent of Red Hot Chili Peppers vocalist Anthony Kiedis. Indeed it seems that fellow Californicators Red Hot Chili Peppers are never far away on this album, as many of these songs could sit comfortably on an earlier Chili Peppers record (say Uplift Mofo Party Plan or Mother’s Milk), such is the blend of rock, funk, soul, hip hop and a myriad of other sounds and influences. But make no mistake, Ankit Love is no mere copycat or fanboy. Yes, you can hear his influences throughout (the aforementioned RHCP, James Brown, Parliament, Faith No More and Stevie Wonder are surely among his record collection) but this is a highly unique individual with a unique take on music and the world. With track titles such as ‘Spill The Milky Way’, ‘Lightning Lady’, ‘Mental Revolution’ and ‘Unite+Funk’, you realise that this is a special guy making special music. And when you delve that bit deeper and look at some of his lyrics, you can really see that this is a man who marches to his own funky, sexy beat. Take these lyrics from ‘It Is What It Is’;
“Electric therapy lip connection
a kiss from deep within the lungs
tasting of your respiration
pheromones bouncing on the air”
Or this snippet from ‘Unite+Funk’;
“Music is the super spoon, scoop it yo!
Umm I like that flavour!
Umm I like your taste!
No need to think about it, just move it from the waist!”
Terrific stuff indeed, from a very talented songwriter. And no, I’m not being smart or sarcastic, I genuinely mean it. Listen to these songs and you’ll see just how well the lyrics work.
The masterpiece of the album however is the stunning, breathtakingly awesome ‘Beethoven Burst’. It’s is quite simply amazing. There’s no other word to describe this beautiful, sexy, funking tune. You just have to give it a listen, or better yet head over to Youtube and check out the stupendous video, created and directed by Ankit Love himself (I’ve helpfully linked it for you; click here).
So there you have it. Forever is a totally unique and utterly brilliant release, mixing the spirituality of India with the sunshine of California, a musical tour de force that melds funk, soul, rock, hip hop and others into a groundbreaking record that will stay with you long after you’ve turned it off. One of the albums of the year. Amazing.