Friday, 30 September 2016

A BAND ON HOPE – ALBUM REVIEW

A Band On Hope – A Band On Hope 
A Band On Hope - A Band On Hope


Release Date: Out Now

The words Westcountry and Hip-Hop don’t always sit together comfortably without imagining some sort of pimped up Wurzels but shame on you for your lazy musical reference points. Frontman for near legendary combo The Scribes, Ill Literate, and producer Kristian Sharpe have created a side project under the name A Band On Hope and then gone on to spawn an absolute beast of an album. From the word go, ‘Che Lives’ is an attack on modern day apathy and ‘Dead Angels’ is a slick, groove heavy piece of Jurassic 5-esque Hip Hop that pervades like the thickest, sweetest smoke. ‘Furgh Que’ shows the duo humour off with bleeps liberally scattered around over the stuttering acoustic and rippling lyrics. Gideon Conn is the closest comparison I can make to tunes like ‘God Knows’ and ‘Low Budget High Life’ as the duo mix humour, imaginative melodies and rapid fire vocals that swing between mockery and insight like a monkey easing through the high branches of a jungle canopy.  

There’s a wonderfully woozy quality to ‘Mindfields’ that was born in the music of the Beatles and grew up via the likes Jim Noir and Badly Drawn Boy in all their lo-fi beauty. I love a comedy title so ‘Phantom of Hipopera’ is right up my street and musically it tickles my fancy too with a gorgeously squelchy synth sound and the smooth lyrical flow present yet again. ‘Russian Doll’ has a real West Coast feel (US West Coast, not Weston Super Mare) while ‘So Far’ is one of the more spaced out tracks albeit with a menacing, slightly threatening edge. That darkness continues in to ‘Upsides Down’ as the tempo is taken down a notch and the duo piss all over the likes of Professor Green who would do well to listen to this album and take some notes.

On ‘Trapped Inside Escape’ the pair move in to a space more usually occupied by late 90s boy bands with its jerky melody and vocals style before ‘Standstill’ shuffles in to view with its Stone Roses vibe and day-job bashing lyrics. The album closes out with ‘Spaced Out Break Out’ which has a jazzy, almost Latin vibe and is yet more proof that these guys know how to work a groove. I hope this becomes more than a side-project as there is clearly a wealth of creativity which can be exploited here and I can only imagine that their live shows would an awful lot of fun. A hugely impressive album, then, and one that ought to be gaining a lot of attention if it isn’t already.


Live Dates (The Scribes):

1st October – The Energy Rooms, Torpoint
14th October – The Apple & Parrot, Torquay
9th December – The Social, Southampton w/Talib Kweli

16th December – The Hub, Plymouth w/Land of The Giants

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