In a world of music where thousands of bands draw inspiration from each other, there's a lot to be said for honesty and originality. All People have both of these things in heaps.
All People is somewhat of a "supergroup." It'd be hard to have never heard something made from the cast of musicians that make/made up bands such as Fatter Than Albert, A Billion Ernies, Vox and the Hound and various other projects. Communicate is their first release and it is absolutely killer.
Communicate is hard to label. It doesn't feel like an album as much as it feels like a living soundtrack to an urban sprawl. It's really raw and dirty in the best way possible. The album spans eight tracks and even more genres, and while this seems like a perfect recipe for disjointedness, Communicate is an unbelievably thoughtful and artful composition that never feels out of place. In 22 minutes, it pulls from ska, hardcore, psychedelic reggae, bhangra, jazz, swing, world music and even more genres for everyone to argue about. There are also bits of spoken word poetry that wrap this package up nicely. It's not as hard to swallow as it appears. It's a ska album at heart, although it may only be ska 50% of the time while the other styles take up the other half.
When Communicate was initially released, it was in the form of one 22 minute track that you could download for free. It was explained that the record is actually one long piece of music, and the intention is that it should be heard all at once. This is the only way to listen to it. Communicate is a musical experience, rather than just an album. This, of course, can be a detriment, as it's hard to pick apart certain parts that could stand alone as their own tracks. The record has some great songs though like "An Impression," which starts with two minutes of the band chanting to an orchestra of percussion instruments. It's the moments like this that separate Communicate from the flock. The other two minutes are a driving ska song with the occasional heavy outburst, with evocative lyrics like, We're not looking for the credit, or even for the cash / We are only looking to make an impression that will last.
All that said, Communicate can sometimes feel like a lot of great ideas inside of a really small bag. 22 minutes is not enough time to be doing all of this genre switching, mathematical instrumentals, and wonderfully written spoken word pieces. Though it's technically an EP, it feels like a little sampler plate of what All People are capable of. Maybe next time, they bring all five courses in the form of a 40-minute full-length.
This can be downloaded for free here.