Longtime London 90′s duo of Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba return as The Herbaliser, this time collaborating with The Easy Access Orchestra for their seventh album, There Were Seven. The result is a set of infectious new grooves from The Herbaliser we all know and love, yet this time with a much fuller, crispier sound.
As per usual, The Herbaliser jump between genres on There Were Seven, all keeping it grounded within the roots of their own brand of London funk. The album opens with “The Return Of The Seven”, a sort of spaghetti-western theme song, suggesting that they are the magnificent, with a sensation style. “Lost Boy” is a live, well produced trip-hop vocal collaboration with Hannah Clive, evoking feelings of 90′s groups like Mono and, of course, Portishead. Later, “Mother Dove” continues the trend, acting as the unofficial score to Guy Ritchie’s next London crime caper.
The dub driven “Welcome To Extravagance” takes things in a different direction, with layers of lush sounds that would impress even the most seasoned rasta. “Zero Hill”, the first of three collaborations with rap outfit Twin Peaks is an impressive showing from the duo, as are the lyrical jab trading “Crimes & Misdemeanors”, and the humorous Lethal Weapon inspired “Danny Glover”. The other hip-hop driven cuts (“Sad State Of Affairs” w/ George The Poet and “March Of The Dead Things” w/ Teenburger) have heart, but don’t go off quite as flawlessly. “Inside The Machine” is an instrumental track that sounds a bit like what RJD2 might produce if he’d taken the same approach of hiring a seven piece orchestra.
All in all, Herbaliser remain one of the most consistant crews of the beat-driven, instrumental genre, and with There Were Seven, they defy expectations and deliver a solid steel product, once again.
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