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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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