The Herbaliser - There Were Seven

04 November, 2012

By C. Mike


This is the point all Herbaliser fans have been waiting for. A return to the old school jazz breakbeats that this band got us used to. But, this is no repeat. It's a reconstruction of the primary elements that made Herbaliser sound like an Indian elephant's cry for war. It was this feeling that I acquired when I saw them live 7 years ago in London's Jazz Café. 4 saxophones , 1 trumpet, vibes, 2 drummers, 1 percussionist, 1 dj and an array of super flowous "East coast style"  MC's made up a sound wall visualized only by a horde of elephants galloping fast and shouting loud!


Their previous effort was mediocre. They tried to be more commercialized, mellowing their style to a more soulful approach together with the vocal clarity of Jessica Darling. But it didn't match. It was poor. And everyone said it was over.


But, now, they are back. More powerful and melodic than before, more cinematic and jazzy, more funky and modern. It's a step ahead coming from the sounds of before.


The instrumentals here are the biggest delight. "Welcome to Extravaganza" has a reggae tempoed verse but a soul jazz chorus with all the saxophones merging to create an acoustic pleasure. "Take 'em on" is typical Herbaliser sound with the flute being the lead organ here whereas "Deep in the woods" and "Inside the machine" acquire a more cinematic approach what with all the synths building up to something more emotional and direct.


Now, here enter the MC's. Getting away this time from previous famous collaborators as Roots Manuva and MfDOOM, the band trusted their speech figures on a new bunch of young MC's who bring up a fresh way of things. Twin Peaks and Teen burger, both from Ottawa's collective Getthosocks rap in style and provide a perfect mood compared to that of East coast mc's like Doom and Mos Def. "Crimes and Misdeamanours" finds Twin Peaks rhyming smoothly but accurately upon a slow trumpet lead tune. It's a top tune that's gonna drive the girls crazy.


The highlight of the album, though, is Mc'ed from another guy named George the Poet on a song called "Sad state of Affairs" . The song starts in a very cinematic style with a repeating tempo and a choir of ladies oooo-ing along the lines of the story George tells us. The surprise comes at the end where all music stops and George rhymes acapella making a good song, epic. You'll be touched by his words at the end of the song. It's a sentimental way of portraying the new world of Herbaliser.


The verdict, then, is that Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba have gone forward with elements of the past. And that's something that needs skills and guts like this duo have been doing for seven albums now. Oh, and that's why the album was named as it has. Cause they were seven. Let's hope there will be more. 






Primary Genre:  Funk Soul Jazz


Subgenre:  Afro funk, Breakbeat jazz


Release Date:  3rd October 2012


Label:   K7 records


Influences:   Fela Kuti, Candido, Lloyd Mc Neill 


Like This And You'll Probably Also Like:  Hidden Orchestra, Souljazz Orchestra


Album Highlights:  Sad State of Affairs, Setting Up, Inside the machine



















"Gave me a bad case of the tingles right from the very first listen. It feels like it has the makings of something great, I will give this a lot of attention and get back to it, for now 7.5/10 "



Contributor mini-profile

C. Mike

C. Mike

12 Fluffy Reviews
"It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens"
Mini bio
Member of the White Room film production team where he works as a director, editor and head chef. His team's clients include the famous and very talented musicians of the Greek music industry. He was also an amazing basketball player, but, nowadays, something's wrong with his shot balance , resulting in very poor performances. Nevertheless, he still believes in a resurection. 
Mike is a vinyl collector, with a pretty pretty good stock. He thinks music is his passion. But is he music's passion???

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