Kicking off with what sounds like an outtake from ELO, opening snippet, Population, quickly morphs into a DJ Shadowesque soundscape before landing firmly in much more familiar Anomalies territory with first track proper, 1830. It's a bit Kaiser Chiefs in places, social commentary superglued to a crowd pleasing jumpalong. Next up Creatures of Habit sees lead vocalist Sam showing off some surprisingly jazzy vocals before Mouthmaster Murf crashes the party. That's the key to The Anomalies appeal for me. Yes, there are plenty of other good hip hop acts out there but like Birmingham's own Misty's Big Adventure, The Anomalies mix it all up with loads of other genres to create something that's as fresh as snowball down your Y-fronts (and that's fresh). Kid Riot, as I've writted here before is just a mental mash up of techno, thrash and..er...Mungo Jerry's In the Summertime. See? Glorious. Bamboo Beats keeps the pace up, fusing shades of Martha and the Muffins Echo Beach with 1920's style public service announcements. Vibrations, a mainly instrumental turntablist track, has hints of J5's debut EP coupled with The Avalanches. Smoothly done.
Employee Of The Month remains for me one of The Anomalies' best tracks. I forget the name of the female vocalist who was part of the band back in the day, but her contribution just adds that little extra sweetness. " I am the employee of the month. I've got a badge upon my front. So strike me down, down, down". Wise words indeed. The ghost of a McJob haunts me to this very day. The ska tinged Margarita bounces along nicely, then Blue Peter becomes the first ever track to rhyme Dalai Lama with Barack Obama. Ride that zeitgeist (nope, once again I have no idea what I'm on about). Jacobs Ladder is a bit of an odd one out as it leaves the rappy bits until well into the track. Strings, emotive vocals, classical piano...it's all here. Oldskool lifts us up again, with a catchy 80's feel (I'm getting a touch of Robert Palmer here) before the album ends where it began with Reprise, those ELO strings kick things off, then we're into some furious breakbeat, jungle drums, piano, fucked up vocals, psycho strings...bonkers. I think there's a hidden track then, just pared back guitar, simple bongos and one of those blow keyboard thingy's. It's like a bunch of mates sitting round a campfire on a hot, hot summer's night (kudos to the human beatboxer), just having fun, fun, fun...which is, pretty much the best word to sum up both the band and this entire genre eating album. And, what the world needs now, to bastardise Burt Bacharach, 'is fun, sweet fun'.
Free Soup Social is out on April 6th on Beyond Music. Buy it, download it, love it.