If there has been an album as inspirational and dynamically outstanding as the new self-titled release from Lazy Habits then we must have missed it. It is simply immense, a release which unleashes energising provocative songs to engage the senses but also one to party to without inhibitions or restraint. Whether the intention, the album plays like a glorious wake to us, a celebration of modern British culture and urban life top and tailed by the opening soulful crawl of Processional and the celebratory feast of Recessional. In between the album unveils honest tales of life with all its barbs and warmth, lyrically and musically, through a sensational mix of hip hop, New Orleans jazz, soul, and Big Band majesty spawned in the 50’s. It is unique and quite brilliant.
The 8 piece Hackney, London based Hip-Hop collective began in 2007 as the brainchild of one MC. Now a formidable and giant imaginative octet, the band has lit up stages alongside the likes of Mos Def, Soulwax, The Specials, Bonobo, Chali 2Na (Jurrasic5), and Beardyman, their onstage energy a colossal live experience once tasted never forgotten, as well as thrilling festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival, Secret Garden Party, and Electric Picnic with their renowned insatiable energy. Debut EP On the Wagon put them on the radar of the media whilst following single Even Out took them further than ever into radio and TV awareness and attention. The new album is going to bring them national if not further afield recognition or quite simply justice just does not exist.
It would be wrong to say that The RR has a deep knowledge of hip hop but we, like a moth to a flame, never escape the lure of the genre when it is as unique and instinctively adventurous as with this release. The year has treated us to adoration evoking experiences from Shrikes, Janice Graham Band, and Dizraeli and The Small Gods, all showing a conjuration of aural alchemy from a multitude of flavours which is irresistible. Lazy Habits with their own one of a kind magic stand by their side and deep in the heart. The band calls their sound as “Beats, Rhymes and Brass of the highest caliber.” No argument here.
Released through Run ‘N’ Jump Records, the album as mentioned opens with the slow gait of Processional, the breath of the track an emotive warmth brought through the emotive wiles of the brass to leave the senses captivated and ready for the following Ashes. The new engaging treat teases the ear with stabbing melodic strokes as the vocals lay their lyrical prowess across the heated sky of the song. The jazzy gait is a smouldering weave which ebbs and flows like a melodic tide from the horns, at times a soft tender kiss and in others a more playful companion. It is an openly delicious appetizer for what is to follow.
The whole of the release is titanic but two of the loftier peaks come with next up Surface Dirt and aforementioned single Even Out. The first is a smoking blaze of jazz scorched ambience and hip hop preciseness which again leaves the senses in a smouldered embrace. The rhythms and percussion incite a disorientating compliance without losing sight of the licking sonic flames whilst the frenetic climax leaves one breathless with no respite coming from the unbelievably infectious Even Out. It is no surprise the track brought such acclaim for its energetic yet carefully primed viral beckoning. It is a song where one coaxing of the chorus has you in tandem with its flow and intent to join with a sure stance from there on in, and a track which is a lingering joy from there on in.
Every track deserves a mention to be fair, the likes of Perfect Sentence, The Road, and the striking current single Bulletin to name just three, all inventive glories, but personal highlights come with the sumptuous Memory Banks which features the mesmeric tones of songstress Babysol, the titanic Starting Fires, and the magnificent Please People. The first is a delicious dessert of harmonies, provocative bass lines, and elegant passion. It is a seductive love affair for the ear and heart brought through a sharp and finely honed mesh of lyrical licks, distinctly different vocals, and melodic expanse which you can just not let go of. Starting fires has an infamy from having been controversially pulled from national radio playlists last year due to its release unfortunately coinciding with the London riots. It is a beaming storm of aural supremacy with the union of vocalists Babysol,arguably at their finest moment on the album and the fire of the band musically and inwardly at its fullest height. The third of the trio is a spiral of insatiable hooks and orgasmic teasing, a song as catchy as the deadliest virus and as thrilling and senses enlightening as the recovery.
The album will be tagged as hip hop no doubt but it is so much more, that genre one spice in a maelstrom of invention and unpredictable heart fuelling imagination. If mischievous and swinging melodic enterprise with a cutting edge and inciting endeavour appeals than Lazy Habits is your only destination.
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