Like the fleet footed shuffle of a confidence fuelled, adrenaline powered boxer, the sounds of US rapper/producer Andy Cooper beguile, spar, and jab within his second album The Layered Effect and like the very best, it swings knock out punches to simply drool over.
A tapestry of old school rap and hip hop as funky and jazzy as it is lung bursting fresh, The Layered Effect is pure pleasure in the ears. It is a homage to the past equally embracing the experiences of Cooper through his part as one third of hip hop outfit Ugly Duckling but not so much a throwback as a new revitalising breath in its history, and the fact that at times it reminds us of nineties UK hip hop duo Honky is extra cream to greedily lap up. Lyrically Cooper also acclaims the core and original essences of the genres he plays with throughout his album, revelling on the fun conjured on the inside as much as the listener basks in it on the outside.
The Layered Effect opens up with Here Comes Another One. Featuring Dutch MC Blabbermouf, the track swiftly swings and flirts with tenacious beats and the vocal shuffle of Cooper, keys keeping up with their own suggestive dance. The rapid fire exploits of Blabbermouf are just as rousing once uncaged, the song’s subsequent vocal weave devilish in its lure and as irresistible in its enterprise as the magnetic alignment of brass and keys with all the track’s other enticing sounds..
The following interlude of Layers toys with the chorus of the opener before Get On That has attention jumping and body bouncing with its R&B meets Fat Boy Slim scented jazz ‘n’ hop funk. As busy and richly flavoured as it is greedily infectious, the song twists and turns like a controlled but lustful dervish, its rhythms alone are instinctive manipulation, a trait just as potent within successor The Perfect Definition. More predacious than its predecessor in beat and tone, the track is a virile invitation led by the verbal shuffle of Cooper wrapped in boisterous musical prowess.
Talking of virility, Do The Andy Puppet is sheer virulent contagion, a deceptively persuasive saunter spun from presumably The Allergies 2016 video for Rock Rock featuring Cooper and his material woven counterpart. It has the innocence of child entertainment and the machination of retail temptation but really it is one slice of sublime contagion putting a smile on the face and spirit.
Last Of A Dying Breed has ears and thoughts swaying with the essences of old school rap blessed in instinctive funk while Anything Goes with Canadian rapper Abdominal guesting, pounces on the appetite with rapacious relish and dark intrigue, the song another as shadowy as it is radiant. The vocal union of the two is animated captivation skilfully matched by the song’s less forward but no less engaging sounds.
Surely only a deceased heart can stop any body from twisting and rolling to the rhythmic pulse and jazz flumes of the superb Can’t Be Satisfied, the track a virus to hips and feet let alone the imagination, while B-Boy Blues spreads further diversity to the album with its steely breath and twang lined funk. Both hit the spot dead centre, each solely owning the listener for the expanse of their presence.
The sultry shindig of Sizzling Hot provides a sweltering festival of sound and enticement to which once more eager involvement is inescapable. Its heated swing slips into the interlude of Just One Of The JB’s, its declaration springing into the celebration of Rick Said So, a Beastie Boys toned roar riding the inspirations of rap’s spawning days from Rick Rubin forward.
The release ends with the summer energy of A New Dawn, a fascinating web of sound around a final spring of vocal enterprise and lyrical suggestion which simply draws ears and imagination into its folds. It is a spellbinding conclusion to one increasingly addictive encounter. Andy Cooper has been no stranger to attention and acclaim through his previous projects and debut solo album but maybe not as much as The Layered Effect could and should spark.
The Layered Effect is out now through Rocafort Records; available @ https://rocafortrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-layered-effect
Pete RingMaster 30/01/2018
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