Supercharging hip hop with progressive, overdriven funk, Perth five-piece Afro Chameleon have quickly become one of the city’s must-see live bands – wielding virtuoso musicianship, sophisticated songwriting and one of the best frontmen in town. Capturing the sheer intensity of this live show for the first time, Afro Chameleon have created an exciting new music genome with their stunning debut, Modern Wilderness – seamlessly manoeuvring from sharp social commentary to party anthems in a heartbeat.
Start-to-finish, Modern Wilderness is intensely focused. First single Snake Eyes opens the EP with ferocious intent, espousing hook-laden, danceable rhythms to huge, aggressive riffs. At the fore, the relentless vocal attack of Jeff Carman. This sonic barrage continues through song after song – from the infectious riffs and autobiographical charm of Fat Possum to the heavy, break-neck groove of Apes. Turning on a dime, the band slow the pace for the smouldering second single Chameleon, before burning the house down with epic closing number XYZ. From the first beat to the last, the band deliver an intensity that never lets up.
This incendiary music matches Afro Chameleon’s fierce intellect. Threaded through Modern Wilderness are powerful themes that galvanise each song with the stark truths of modern life. The band hold a mirror up to our tech-driven rat race, exploring the dichotomy between our need to be accepted by the group, and our drive to stand out as an individual. The way we are, versus they way we want to be.
Vocalist Jeff Carman explains this driving narrative. “Lyrically, Modern Wilderness explores the addiction to technology, money and wealth which transforms our natural drive for interconnection and humanity into a wilderness,” he says. “Where values like joy, love and happiness are sacrificed for wealth to prosper. Animals are used to portray humanity’s primal natures that thrive, such as pro-social behaviour and survival.”
At the start of a long adventure ahead, Afro Chameleon will continue to evolve. Already working on their full-length album, the band will expand their personnel in 2018 to include a permanent keys player, allowing an extra dimension to their fastidiously crafted music. To get their year fully under way, Afro Chameleon will launch Modern Wilderness at Badlands Bar on April 27, in a stellar lineup that includes some of Perth’s brightest new talent, before embarking upon a cycle of regional and national touring.