I have – almost – forgiven UB40 for their contributions to cod reggae chart success on the grounds that they must surely have led at least some listeners towards the real thing. However, I now wonder is their legacy was actually to inspire other bands to plough someone else’s fields in search of the kind of success that is usually measured in credit card receipts, muddy wellies and sales of coloured pills.
Kioko, to their credit, display a decent degree of musical skill here with all of the five songs on their “Let’s Be Frank” EP sounding like the work of seasoned second division players although the hints of jazz influences that occasionally creep in suggest that there might well be more to them than meets the ear. I suppose, however, that the real problem is that Kioko are clearly steering to the middle ground – no doubt to ensure those future festival bookings that will pay the rent – so they just aren’t bouncy enough for the dance floor nor are they subsonic enough to be real reggae.
“Let’s Be Frank” is therefore a nice enough EP that won’t trouble your grandmother’s ears. Unfortunately, I don’t have my grandmother’s ears as she was cremated.