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The Narcotix is a West African art-folk band based in Brooklyn, with feathers all over. It is many-limbed and limber, a five-piece with voices, guitars, bass, keys and drum set. Reverb-laden vocals blur and swell in dissonant intervals, buoyed by a riverbed of shimmering Congolese guitar riffs, thumping P-bass, cavernous synths and traphouse hi-hats. The result is a compelling musical statement whose relationship to identity is as fraught, complex and ever-changing as anything else in this time.

Composers Esther Quansah (guitars, vocals) and Becky Foinchas (keys, vocals) met in an elementary school chorus class in the ghostly woodlands of Woodbridge, Virginia. The daughters of African immigrants (Quansah from Cote D’Ivoire and Foinchas from Cameroon), they soaked up influences as far-flung and varied as choral symphonies, African wedding music, and progressive math rock, distilling them through a unique lens.

While attending the University of Virginia, Foinchas and Quansah met Sierra Leonean guitarist Adam Turay, showing him their compositions and bonding over a shared love of both avant-pop music like early Grizzly Bear and Stereolab and African music like the intricate soukous guitar rhythms of Koffi Olomide and the pulsing chimurenga of Thomas Mapfumo. They became interested in applying these ideas to popular western forms, using unconventional ways to arrive at accessibility. The nascent Narcotix found a home in the DIY venues and house shows of Charlottesville and Richmond, merging meticulous, vocal-driven arrangements with raucous performances.

Quansah, Foinchas and Turay relocated to Brooklyn in 2017, developing their West African-inspired psych-folk concept and playing at clubs and venues like Rockwood Music Hall, C’mon Everybody, Berlin and Mercury Lounge. Galvanized by these live experiences, the Narcotix embarked on tours from Brooklyn to SXSW, driving through the American South in the midst of significant political upheaval and touring the Bay Area and L.A. a year later.

Current Release

The Narcotix
Mommy Issues
Street Date: June 11, 2021

Track List

1. Lilith
2. Adam
3. Adonai
4. Rebecca
5. John/Joseph
6. Esther

Photos (click for hi-res)