The Herbaliser – There Were Seven (Department H/ October 8 2012)
By Gary Lewis
Back once again with the renegade masters. Beats are damaging, power to The Herbaliser. Ripping up their own rule book once again, Ollie and Jake have flown the Ninja nest and formed ‘Department H’, to release their seventh album, There Were Seven.
This is a magnificent effort that makes you realise that they are simply getting better with age. Mariachi, drama and tolling bells introduce a dusty soundscape that gives way to dub, electronics and analogue juiciness wrapped-up in a Herbaliser blanket.
The boys aren’t scrimping on cuts either. Fifteen plates of funk, soul, hip-hop and dub leave you feeling eminently satisfied right up to last track, ‘Move as one’, which is exotic, funky and with enough retro sounds to make it strangely futuristic.
Lead single ‘The Lost Boy’ sets the tone. It is a musical cocktail featuring a melange of heavy beats, vocal treats and grooves for the mind and feet. Squiggly space funk and bold brass combine with scratched guitar riffs to form a timely sounding, Bond-esque spy theme. The boys haven’t worked alone on this one either. ‘The Lost Boy’ features the vocal talents of Hannah Clive, a self styled ‘21st-century troubadour singer-songwriter’, and MC’s George The Poet (‘A Sad State of Affairs’), and US flow rider Twin Peaks (‘Zero Hill’, ‘Crimes and Misdemeanours’, and ‘Danny Glover’), and Teenburger (‘March of the Dead Things’).
The result may seem to be more of what you know – brass, samples, heavy beats, awesome scratching and a dose of exotica – but The Herbaliser just keep getting slicker. Are they like Danny Glover and ‘getting too old for this shit’? Hell no. There’s life in the old Herbaliser yet.