Having already captured the heart with their singles Never Mind and Million Miles, UK band Dizraeli and The Small Gods has now seduced and mastered the soul with their stunning debut album Moving In The Dark. As evocative and seductive as it is powerfully provocative, the album seizes thoughts and emotions with a dramatically impacting innovative voice coated in a towering imagination driven mesmerism. Fusing a creatively individual form of hip hop with an equally inventive passionate folk embrace, the band creates music which reflects and discusses with the passion of an activist, issues in social and personal politics whilst wrapping it in sounds and ingenuity which alone has the power to opens up emotive points of view and reactions in the listener. It is a sensational album, a force of pure joy and invention.
The seeds of the band began in 2009 with some of its members already involved with the solo album Engurland (City Shanties) from award-winning rapper and multi-instrumentalist Dizraeli and part of its taking to the live setting. Dizraeli himself had already won BBC Radio 4′s Poetry Slam contest in2007 for his instinctive alchemy with words and the following year won the Spirit of the Fringe award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the dystopian hip hop play, The Rebel Cell created and performed with fellow wordsmith Baba Brinkman. Moving forward with an inevitability such the musicianship involved on the album and shows, Dizraeli and The Small Gods emerged in its own right and has already apart from releasing the two stunning singles lit up stages across the UK and Europe, under taken a very successful tour of Germany, and thrilled main stages at festivals including WOMAD. The seven-piece ensemble consists of Dizraeli, Cate Ferris (vocalist, flute), Lee Westwood (guitar, backing vocals), Paul Gregory (drums), DJ Downlow (DJ, backing vocals), Jules Arthur (viola, keys, backing vocals), and World Female Beatbox Champion Belle Ehresman better known as Bellatrix (beatbox, double bass), and with ease has strong claims as being the most original, diverse, and richly compelling conjurors of passion igniting music around today, the proof being their impossibly magnificent album.
Released via ECC Records, the album emerges on the brief tide of Odd Creature to step into the immediately stirring grip of We Had A Song. With pulse throbbing beats carrying a flattened resonance alongside shadowed female melodic cries they make a keen wrap for the vocal agility and enticing lyrical poetry of Disraeli. The song soon makes moves on the senses and emotions with a warm tenderness for yet forthright reflection on a specific breath of life. Across the album the rapper and lyricist has the powerful skill of looking at or portraying a small personal or singular aspect, the little things to use the name of a song further into the release, and have them seamlessly and potently translate to a wider and expansive worldly representation, the opener just the first stirring example.
From the impressive start matched by the delicious folk dance of Was A Rapper and the mischievously intriguing and anthemic title track, the album explores and stretches thoughts further with the formidable impacting caress of Strong Bright. A lone guitar and agitated beats shuffle in to view initially within a persistent niggling tease with a certain warning persuasion, setting up the ear with an eager appetite for the colourful narrative of Disraeli accompanied in places by the stunning vocal elegance of Ferris. Combining a continually evolving musical tempest of ideas and flavoursome imagination with equally inventive percussion and irrepressibly pertinent vocals, the descriptive atmosphere and breath of the track brings the in place ardour a new lustful hunger for what is to follow.
The eclectic sounds and craft of the album makes it an inspiring and enthralling temptress throughout with sirenesque lures at every individual tapestry of emotive storytelling and musical enterprise it weaves. The wonderful The Istanbul Express is a perfect example, its exotic instrumental and sultry mystique the perfect curvaceous musical lover to tempt and spellbind senses and heart. The likes of the vivacious Sailor with its vocal ear fondling from the mix of Dizraeli, Ferris, and guest vocalist Jam Baxter, as well as its haunting bass intimacy and psyched stringed taunting, and the noir blessed reflective smouldering White Rum, bring their own unique empowering presences to stretch the album and listener pleasingly further..
Surrounding the just mentioned pair of songs the previously mentioned singles lay in wait to tantalise and intoxicate; two pieces of genius which sing in heart and thought as devilishly as they do the ear such their irresistible infection and majesty. Starting with a Parisian sway and open invitation, Never Mind romps cunningly with the senses and passions, its harmonic swagger and carnivalesque stomp added to the inciting lyrical hug with a definite wink of the eye at play, the most glorious teasing with an almost sadistic wantonness to its allure and impossible not to bounce in union with physically and lustfully. Million Miles also opens with ear catching mischief, this time with the scything strings of the viola and thumping rhythms from drums, as well as magnetic percussion spicery and the again victorious bass. The tale of eternal lovers lost amidst chaos comes to life through the rap accuracy and lyrical prowess of Dizraeli and the golden flames of Ferris. Already the album has cast her as a vocal enchantress with her stunning tones but this song is her finest most magnetic moment, her glorious fire of sound igniting the skies of the song with beauty and emotive passion. The song is not just about the pair though as musically the band lie heated textures and flavours into an electrified and beautifully carved encounter with the throaty deep resonance of bass and one point a singular beat making the most impacting co-conspirator to the building fire of Ferris and waspish vocal craft of Dizraeli.
Further highlights come with the emotional Celtic folk tempest of There Is A Way with both vocalists telling the tale of a life trapped in the torment of drugs and demons upon a stark drone and imposing atmosphere, and Little Things with its precisely woven insightful imagery, piano discord, and stirring melodramatic whispers. A song inspired by the grandmother of Dizraeli, it is another stunning and emotionally impacting portrait. Every one of the fifteen songs on Moving In The Dark though are incredible in their very unique stances and characters with the closing The End Of The World another riveting and fascinating thought piercing glory. Dizraeli and The Small Gods has created a masterpiece of beauty, imagination, and emotively soaked inventive contagion, as well as undoubtedly the best album to bless 2013 so far.
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