Although Assagai's Zimbabwe is so unnervingly eclectic that some might find it a somewhat uneven listening experience, it's a very interesting fusion of funk, rock, and African influences that's quite forward-looking for the early '70s, with just a bit of psychedelia thrown in. When they're playing in a relatively straightforward Afro-funk vein, they're pretty hot, mixing grinding, groovy riffs with some African beats, wailing melancholy horns, and obviously James Brown-influenced rhythm guitar. That blend is prevalent on the opening six-minute instrumental "Barazinbar," and vocals get thrown into a similar approach on "Bayeza." But others cuts vary the arrangements enough to steer the album well clear of formulas. "Kinzambi," another instrumental, gets into some intense interplay between jazzy brass and hand-held percussion, and the beats and brass on "Sanga" might slightly remind some listeners of Manu Dibango's work. "Wanga" and "Come Along" have a bubbly lilt more identified with the sweeter aspects of the Afro-Pop popularized around the world from the '80s onward, though "Come Along" has the kind of romantically shivering vocal associated with some pre-1970 African popular music. "Dalani" is another highlight, kicked off by a compelling, tinkling keyboard riff and gliding into a first-class jubilant funk instrumental. Making the group harder to pigeonhole, however, are "La La," which sounds almost like a dreamy psychedelic singer/songwriter ballad (albeit not sung in the English language) with piano and entrancingly folky guitar. Not well-known even among collectors looking for early fusions of African music and funk, Zimbabwe's an interesting, energizing record whose innovations and creativity are worthy of more recognition.