As if the name, title and cover art didn’t provide adequate hints, DoJo are a jazz / reggae collective whose inspirations and lyrical focus are socio-political, philosophical and spiritual, drawing on and referencing a broad range of different faiths. They’re preoccupied with themes of harmony and spiritual connection between all living things, and Gaia is their debut album.
And it’s fine for what it is, containing as it does a dozen festival-friendly mellow grooves. These may be songs with a message, with depth, maaan, but feel the vibes. They’re warm and gentle, it’s music to chill to, to sway to, to swing your hips to while forgetting where you are or a while. Reggae rhythms blend with supple jazz-tinged brass and… and this is precisely the kind of smug muso cack I can’t abide. They may sing about ‘the reality of living on the breadline in a world city’, and it may well be based on first-hand experience given the rag-tag assembly’s backgrounds in London, Paris, Nigeria and Lebanon, but DoJO make the kind of music that’s loved by patchouli-scented middle-class pseudo-rebels. ‘Gaia’ is an album for the kind of people who drop out from college at weekends before drifting into overpaid bullshit jobs engineered by their affluent families, this is music for the privileged alternative masses.
It’s dull, it’s insipid – but these guys can certainly play.