Following the release of a series of alphabetised EPs this year preceding their first studio album in 12 years, post-punk dance-funk sextet A Certain Ratio did their rescheduled dates performing some of that new material for the first time on tour amongst old favourites.

The band, now without backing singer Denise Johnson who tragically passed away before the release dates of their new recordings, played from their new album ‘ACR Loco’ with ‘Get A Grip’ (originally recorded with dance-funk duo Sink Ya Teeth), new backing singer Ellen Beth Abdi on vocals, although she was lacking the creative expression and velocity of Johnson which sadly let down new songs such as  ‘Down & Dirty’ from ‘ACR:EPA’, originally recorded by Johnson in her style.

However, A Certain Ratio’s organic experimentation made up for this when they returned with ‘ACR:EPC’, doing ‘Emperor Machine’ and instrumental album track ‘Yo Yo Gi’ . They also performed the fast version of ‘$ouls In The City (Part 2)’, which was recorded on ‘ACR:EPR’ with more input from Tony Quigley’s propulsive saxaphonic blasts, unfortunately not as audible on the live rendition.

Now without Denise, original drummer Donald Johnson tookover performing vocals for classic cover single ‘Shack Up’, with feminine tones which resembled her own voice. A Certain Ratio finished their main set on ‘Taxi Guy, also from the new album. Whilst this was not one of the band’s best performances their new recording adventurism provides a rawness to their live performances, something so crucial to the DNA of the band’s identity.

13/11/21: A Certain Ratio @ EartH, London.

© Ayisha Khan.