LFF 2022: Getting It Back: The Story Of Cymande – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 30 minutes, Director – Tim Mackenzie-Smith

Documentary looking at the work and influence of eclectic 70s band Cymande.

“I always wanted the bass to be an instrument that speaks” explains Steve Scipio in an interview delving into the various elements of the music of eclectic 70s band Cymande. It’s one of the many elements which led the band to have growing influence outside of their initial run together through being sampled in multiple tracks over the years. There’s a clear love and respect as shown by other artists and DJs who exclaim their experiences with Cymande’s music, fondly remembering the first time they heard it rumbling through the speakers.

Yet, our initial engagement comes through the band in the present day. Whilst we see them looking back on the 70s and the major South London locations in their lives there’s a fair deal of good humour from each member which helps to ease the viewer into the documentary following them. It allows us to engage more with them and the various genres of music they delved into, including soul, funk and jazz. When looking at the band themselves the film is at its most interesting. Where it begins to deviate is as it takes a look at the reception to their work, and the way in which it was sampled in further tracks over the years.

Interviews start to overlap and repeat each other, bringing in the style of a more standard music doc. While what’s there is still watchable and has your interest it seems to gradually lean away from that initial point of engagement: the band themselves. The focus becomes how their music was used after going their separate ways. The ways in which it was sampled, eventually leading over the strands about how it was adapted to other styles and genres, only really manage to go so far in the film’s second half.

While a key point of this section there are still elements looking at the band themselves, largely how they’ve reformed in the present day and the new found success that they’ve had. It further shows how they’re the biggest drawing factor of the documentary thanks to the clear passion they have for music and the humour which they share and put across. While the film might lean away from this for extended periods of time it eventually comes back to them and reminds us of just who and what spawned the initial praise we see in multiple interviews throughout.

The highlight of Getting It Back: The Story Of Cymande is undeniably the band themselves, their passion for music and humour is the biggest source of engagement amongst the eventual leanings away into slightly overlapping interviews.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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