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Cola Boyy: Prosthetic Boombox Review – A Joyously Defiant Sugar Rush

June 21, 2021

On the cover of his superb debut, Cola Boyy sits strumming a guitar surrounded by various cartoon versions of himself, a jukebox in the corner of the room and his prosthetic leg on a table, next to a gun. “I wanted to take my disability and put it on blast,” the southern California musician, real name Matthew Urango, who was born with spina bifida and scoliosis, has said. His music has a similar playfulness – it’s hard to beat his publicity team’s apt description of it as “a time-travelling Delorean with Prince in the passenger seat” – though fuelling it all are prescient themes of unity and kicking back against the system.

Opener Don’t Forget Your Neighbourhood, with guest production from sampladelic team the Avalanches, is a deliriously upbeat paean to fighting for your town and belonging. Song for the Mister, dedicated to struggling single fathers, channels late-night minicab pop and pulls off the tricky balance of being irresistibly catchy and yet wonderfully moving. Air’s Nicolas Godin, MGMT and LA keysman-to-watch John Carroll Kirby crop up too amid the sugar rushes of disco, funk, house and psychedelia.

The giddy ride ends with Kid Born in Space, referencing people who have mocked him, though Cola Boyy is having the last laugh: Prosthetic Boombox is a slick pop rocket firing off towards exciting new dimensions.

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