Fantastic Negrito - Please Don’t Be Dead album review

Genre-mashing modern blues at its very best

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Fantastic Negrito - Please Don't Be Dead tracklisting

1. Plastic Hamburgers
2. Bad Guy Necessity
3. A Letter to Fear
4. A Boy Named Andrew
5. Transgender Biscuits
6. The Suit That Won't Come Off
7. A Cold November Street
8. The Duffler
9. Dark Windows
10. Never Give Up
11. Bullshit Anthem 

Fantastic Negrito will never be short of material. In his tumultuous life, the man born Xavier Dphrepaulezz has survived near-death experiences with gunmen, a near-fatal car crash that put him in a coma and cost him the use of a hand, million-dollar record deals and million-dollar record disasters, and grand disillusionment with the Hollywood lifestyle. 

Thankfully, a unique background has made for a singular and spectacular multi-instrumentalist and singer. With its roots burrowing deeply into the rich earth of the blues, Please Don’t Be Dead, inspired largely by addressing his fears for the world his children are set to grow up in, melds the personal with the political, completely unconfined by genre or self-censorship. 

A Boy Named Andrew luxuriates in Middle Eastern vibes, Negrito’s characterful vocals dripping with soul; Dark Windows showcases the warm soul-baring of a master singer-songwriter; and the infectious and lingering closing track, Bullshit Anthem (‘Take that bullshit and turn it into good shit’) offers up an experience so insanely funky, you can imagine Prince looking down from his regal purple cloud and nodding in approval. 

Prince aside, there are no other comparisons for Fantastic Negrito – he’s dancing to the beat of his own drum, and it’s hard not to want to join him. 

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.