Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Homecut above the rest...

Hip hop and jazz. That’s a pretty neat combination. Take Birmingham’s very own Soweto Kinch. His ‘A Day in the Life of B19’ album (featuring guest vocals from Moira Stuart…yes…that Moira Stuart) blended the two and landed him a MOBO for his troubles. Now, three years after that genre splicing masterpiece we’ve got Homecut’s ‘No Freedom Without Sacrifice’ (which spookily enough features none other than Mr Kinch himself on one of the tracks - ‘I Don’t Even Know’ -together with the lovely Corinne Bailey Rae).

If there’s any justice in the world it’s an album that’ll be making the shortlist of more than one music award ceremony. Original, witty, ambitious…it’s the result of three years of collaborations, experimentations and, more than likely, lots of other words ending in -ations. This album demands repeat playing. There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in there – lyrically and musically, taking in sex, lies and Shepherd’s pies (seriously) set against a glorious landscape of Jazz, Gospel, Soul and Funk. Reference points? Loads…everything from Marvin Gaye to Miles Davis, PM Dawn to Spearhead (check out ‘Innovators’…can’t you just hear Michael Franti covering this?) and DJ Shadow.

You can feel the energy buzzing through the studio. Harmony (one of many album highlights) in particular has that live feel. The tale of growing up mixed race oozes positivity and, for my money, it’s the kind of message that too often gets ignored. We have ‘black’ and we have ‘white’ but mixed race…surely the ultimate example of harmony between the two…is almost always sidelined. Cultural debate aside (although an album like this brings out the thinker in you) if you have even a passing interest in jazz, soul, hip hop…fuck it…music even...‘No Freedom Without Sacrifice’ is an essential purchase. Whilst you’re at it I’d stick a fiver on it featuring in next years Mercury Music Awards too…

Homecut’s ‘No Freedom Without Sacrifice’ is out on First World Records on 18th May.

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