Review Summary: British up and comers show a high level of talent and intelligence. A few problems but it is good stuff.
I was sold this CD in the streets of my hometown of portsmouth. The reason im reviewing it is because i think the words needs to get out about this band. They have managed to sell thousands of copies of this album though self-promotion, the album was released on their own label and the Cd was sold to me by AC himself. By doing this these guys have managed to be creative within their music, with dark lyrics and reasonably threatening music balancing out some funny and upbeat songs.
The music here has speedy a pounding qualities with the use of dark synthesisers giving way to supremely speedy and urgent beats. The musical style is a suitable balance of grime, garage and D n B sounds. The vocal style is speedy and angry at times but also spoken word and laid back at others.
Their use of strange samples bewteen songs gives this 21 track album a storytelling feel as it is supposed to be. The musical content here sets out multi layered beats all of which lay down the feel of the song and the lyrical content. The use of multiple effects is one of the main attractions to me. They manage to stick to the hip-hop style they have chosen but use the multitude of effects and samples to give the CD variety.
I think that there are two slight problems here though, I think that the music always creates a certain menacing feel even on the songs which are not along those lines. This could be the point i am not too sure. I think i might be nit-picking. I also think that despite the variety given by the multiple samples the musical content of this album cna become a little repetitive.
The lyrical talent present is something which is, in general, clever and varied. I was told by AC when i bought the album that if i was in england then i could understand the idea of the lyrics. I agree, however this is not the kind of "look how british i am! aren't i cool with my indie cred!" british lyrics. They are intelligent commentaries as seen form the inside.
One of the issues covered by this album is the idea of the club lifestyle. One of the songs which covers this is "City Never Sleeps" in which these guys sing of the days they spent staying out all night and raving. They tribute the song in the chorus to the "ravers i used to know". The song is moderately moving and is a clever commentary. The other song of this kind is "If U Want It" which refers to the possibility of dying at a drug filled rave, this one is (as you may guess) quite critical.
Another thing covered is the relationships of men and women. One of my favourites is "Lose Weight"" which is a quite funny song about how fat AC's gf apparently is. In the end she loses weight and starts cheating with all of his friends. It's a very clever and hopeless kind of comedy. There is also the very critical "Slosh" which is a very good song but reflects an attitude towards "Sloshes"(girls who are very slutty) i cannot necessarily say i agree with so it can put me off slightly to listen to. But all in all they show alot of knowlegde of relationships and typical attitudes between men and women and they are far from sexist.
The issue i feel for most in this album is the issue of race. Terra lets lose on the racist people of England (of which there are far too many incidentally) in "Problems". AC holds nothing back in the song "P-Word". As two guys who appear to have suffered at the hands of racism they manage to give very emotional performances with hugely conrtoversial and smart lyrics. They know what they are talking about for sure. There is only one problem i really have with this aspect and that is the use of racist terms (all of which are ironically used fo the sake of making a statement). This is a problem i personally have in general with hip-hop. But alot of people will not have this problem, because AC and Terra are clearly very anti-racist and know what it is like first hand.
There are also some more general tracks. Suahc as "Human Trash" and "We Might Never ft. Genesis Elijah" which both have a global social commentary and show the DIY underground ethics these guys have. These two tracks are two of my favourites.
This album is not perfect but is great! It shows a great deal of potential and proves that there is alot more good british hip-hop to come. It is lonely a 4 because there is room for improvement but it is very good. Socially conscious lyrics rapped over multi-layered music are definitely AC and Terra's winning formula.