Blue Lab Beats — Motherland Journey — Album Review

Jazz | Dance | Afrobeat | Electronic

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

It’s that time of year again, where every music lover is waiting, and hungrier than ever, for that warm and upbeat project to fully kick off the arrival of the warmer days.

If we were to look at last year, for example, the modern Jazz outfit known as Blue Lab Beats, was certainly one of those contenders, as shown by their amazing 2021 project, The Sounds of Arotronica.

That aforementioned album also stood as my proper introduction to the group, and definitely made a fast fan out of me. The dynamic and insanely colourful soundscapes that they had mastered felt reminiscent of all the jazz projects I had loved prior, and reminded me why I love that genre of music so much.

But here we are now in 2022, and we now have the arrival of the highly-anticipated new album from Blue Lab Beats, titled Motherland Journey.

Motherland Journey was teased by an array of tracks; most of them released in the later half of 2021, off the back of their previous record. The earliest teaser track I recall, in regards to this new album, would be their collaboration with Ghetto Boy, titled “Sensual Loving”. On top of being an incredibly vibrant and energetic tune (as one would expect from the likes of Blue Lab Beats), the outfit and Ghetto Boy proved to be a real dream team. That being said, I was thrilled to find that Motherland Journey included that very track, on top of a brand new one which also features the vocals of Ghetto Boy (note: I had only discovered that the track I speak of did release before, on the 2021 EP from Blue Lab Beats, We Will Rise).

However, there are many tracks (including teasers), outside of that collaboration, that prove to be equal in good energy and vibes. We also see even more featured artists, which truly allows the instrumental talents of Blue Lab beats to shine.

In comparison to The Sounds of Afrotronica, it is clear that Blue Lab Beats have gone for a more polished and refined approach towards this project, and they clearly wanted to make this feel like more of an album (as shown by the interludes and overall narrative flow). This has resulted in some of the tracks being somewhat confined to the typical album tropes. I’m also never normally one to moan about a generous record, but I also feel that Motherland Journey ended up being a bit more long-winded that it perhaps needed to be.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t really detract too much from the overall enjoyment of the record. For certain, one thing that definitely hasn’t changed is how feel-good this album is, especially at its best parts. Namely, I feel that the mid-section of this record is where Blue Lab Beats really did hit the right spot for me.

But rounding this review off by going back to our steps into the warmer summer days, Motherland Journey is one of the more prominent records to herald the arrival of good times ahead. And to compliment these good times, we have some incredibly good tunes as well. It’s safe to say that Blue Lab Beats hold their place as an incredibly exciting artist in the modern jazz hemisphere with this incredibly solid record.

Favourite Tracks: Gotta Go Fast | Blow You Away (Delilah) | Sensual Loving | Motherland Journey

Least Favourite Track: A Vibe

Blue Adventure | Decca Records France

Final Score: 80%

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