Reviews Coming Soon

Album Review: TBA

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Album Review: The Herbaliser - Herbal Tonic

The bit of previous I’ve had with The Herbaliser had led me to believe they were a bit of a mood band – the kind of disc you’d spin in the background to slowly start a party or simply to chill out to, but some of the choices on here make me think they’re probably something much more exciting. Tracks like ‘The Blend’, reminding me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack (“t-u-r-t-l-e POWER!”), and ‘It Ain’t Nuttin’ drip with a shady menace and ‘Gadget Funk’ is surely the manic result of letting Kraftwerk loose at a laser convention; they are witty, danceable, memorable anthems that demand your attention.

It’s Ollie Teeba’s passion for all things hip-hop that shines through best of all here, but of course without Jake’s Wherry’s sharp jazz and funk nous it would probably count for little. That Wherry had early schooling in James Brown was key as when he finally teamed up with Teeba to form The Herbaliser, back in 1995, they discovered a happy marriage between the different styles. They’ve been mixing up funk with jazz and hip-hop ever since, regularly releasing albums on the Ninja Tune and K7! labels, and putting on live shows, often as part of the oddest line-ups, all over the world. Herbal Tonic is a collection of the “best” of their tracks and features an impressive list of the collaborating artists they’ve worked with over the years – people like the smooth-talking Jean Grae, MF Doom, Seaming To and Roots Manuva...

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Album Review: The Magic Numbers - The Runaway

My review - originally published on TLOBF:

By drawing inspiration from the soft, warm, positive sounds of bands like The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac and Wings, The Magic Numbers have gained a reputation for making upbeat, intelligent, dreamy retro-pop with lyrics that focus almost entirely on the ups and downs of life and relationships. As a concept, it’s been well and truly covered by so many bands in the past, but it is one that they clearly have a lot of time and affection for. Much of their material, as you can imagine, walks the tightrope between invigorating and over-egged and this third album is no different...

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Album Review: Disbelief - Heal

My review - originally published on MTUK:

Disbelief are one of those bands that music simply seems to pour from. It took some time for them to get going, but now 20 years on from their initial formation, 'Heal' is the German metallers third album in four years, and their ninth in total, and it represents a big step towards the darkly dramatic. Thomas Ewerhard's creepy comic artwork, depicting a surgeon about to place his bare hands on a part-decomposed skull, is your first indication of this, but it's the ramped-up and bitterly nihilistic lyrics that really seal the deal - "I see you death, cree-ping death". Karsten J├Ąger's vocals have always sounded like Lemmy Kilmister guzzling down a bag of nails, but here he's toying with monosyllables. When combined with guitarist Witali Weber's denser, filthy black riffs, we find out just how bloody gory Disbelief can really be...

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