Where do you start describing the style and music of Leicestershire band Great Imitation, a sound that has more elements than an industrial toaster. The quartet’s music blends rap poetry with singer/songwriter passion that lies within an Englishman’s soul, and some hip hop vision with acoustic finery, all infused with some indie pop. Well something like that, the result is what matters and that is very satisfying indeed.
Great Imitation formed in 2009 with the linking up of rapper James Scott-Howes and guitarist and vocalist Ryan Albutt, a union that was destined to work as within an hour of meeting they had written a song together. Performing acoustic sets the duo added drummer Joe Lambden and Mark Connor on bass to the line-up. Winning the National Finals of the 2010 Surface Festival followed as well as featured radio spots and becoming artist of the week on Kerrang Radio, but probably the most important event will occur July 25th with the release of new double A-sided single The Tao of Polite Crunk (Making Rap Middle Class)/Bitter Sweet Heart Attacks (All About You), a taster of things to come in the subsequent release of the ‘Making Rap Middle Class E.P’ late in the summer.
The Tao of Polite Crunk (Making Rap Middle Class) is a self deprecating humourous declaration of the bands ‘making rap middle class’ mantra. Over a neat light summery soundtrack the lyrical amusement is complimented by the engaging guitars and upbeat riffs and rhythm. The track and band sets out with witty honesty what they are all about maybe in preparation for what sadly is still inevitable, a gathering of all too serious and anal views that white men should not rap or even listen to it seemingly.
Bitter Sweet Heart Attacks (All About You) is a different creature and reveals how varied and rounded Great Imitation can be. It is a fuller blend of rap vocals and indie soul, the lyrical commentary on modern relationships incisive without any element of preaching. It courts a neat mix of subtle wit and emotive statements all over an enjoyable strolling summer sound.
Musically there is lightness to the two tracks that is infectious and helps make this a single that is much more than rap delivered vocals, something that many will focus on. Scott-Howes rapping ability is spot on and supported by Albutt’s conventional singer songwriter delivery makes for a strong union. Add the music and this is a very worthwhile release to investigate.
Already renowned for their enjoyable live shows and with the impending EP plus videos from Black Revolver Films, this double A-Sided single just could and should be the moment people catch onto a band that is delightful and thoughtful but with that suspicion of being just as easily instinctively wicked. As to what Great Imitation sound like…………. imagine The Divine Comedy bowling to Sonic Boom Six whilst Dizzee Rascal keeps wicket on the cricket field of an English village. Well kind of close…
Pete RingMaster 04/07/2011