Friday, June 26, 2009

The Herbaliser - Same As It Never Was (2008)

Artist: The Herbaliser
Title Of Album: Same As It Never Was
Year Of Release: May 27, 2008
Label: K7
Genre: Soul, Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop
Quality: MP3


1. Same As It Never Was
2. On Your Knees
3. Just Won't Stop
4. The Next Spot
5. Can't Help This Feeling
6. Amores Bongo
7. Street Karma
8. You're Not All That
9. Blackwater Drive
10. Game Set and Match
11. Clap Your Hands
12. Stranded on Earth

- Clique Aki:

Originally a jazzy trip-hop act, The Herbaliser now makes a kind of horn-drenched hyperfunk. The songs- and they are real songs, not just tracks- reference everything from Tower of Power and Chicago to Aretha Franklin and Quincy Jones.

In this release, The Herbaliser is moving away from rap. There are only three rap tracks on the CD and they are bearable. The rest of the album is all excellent, with great instrumentals and vocal tracks.

The formula is an energetic and upbeat mix of hip-hop and funk, with a lot of inspiration/sampling from seventies film music and fifties big band sound.

Opening is the title track which is largely a funky instrumental with darting horns, organ and an incredible bassline. There are 3 other instrumentals; "The next spot" (with an almost Afrobeat feel), the awesome "Amores Bongo" (a delightful guitar/horn/percussion mix that sounds like it should be some movie soundtrack), and the more mellow "Blackwater drive".

Five songs feature vocalist Jessica Darling, "On your knees", "Can't help this feeling", "You're not all that", "Clap your hands" (these four are retro funk ditties James Brown/Sly & The Family Stone-style) and the sprawling 6 minute plus opus "Stranded on Earth" (a psychedelic sounding number with deep bass, Hip hop beats kicking in about 2 minutes in, and Jessica's few vocals coming in the final 2 minutes). This song is simply amazing!

There are a trio of Hip hop numbers "Just won't stop" features Yungun aka Essa, a Rap touching on the changes technology has brought to social life (Youtube, Myspace, etc). "Street karma (a cautionary tale)" is a midtempo rap with a creepy vibe, horns and sound effects (a car revving, kids playing, etc) adding to the drama. It features Jean Grae on vocals, and is a tale about the violent life on the streets. "Game set and match" features More or Les in a spitfire Rap delivery and some nice guitar effects.

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