- This is the fourth original album from The Herbaliser AKA Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry (plus other associates in crime) however it is actually the fifth full length release we have seen from them, with the last release being the live studio album "Session One" (not directly released by Ninjatune). This album seems to be a continuation from Very Mercenary with it's eerily themed title and slick artwork depicting a graveyard scene, however the Herbs must have learnt something from their Session One album as live instruments are prominent in this release than previous ones proving that hip hop doesn't need to be just about the SL12's (more on this later though).
The first track "Something Wicked" is a great opener to the album. Seaming To's vocals add a sinister effect to the track, like a ghost haunting the life out of the listener. The Herbs usually set the scene of their albums with the first track and "Something Wicked" is on point.
Not just being good at producing live jazz/funk, the Herbs can also make a great hip hop track. Verbal Anime feat Rakaa Iriscience from Dilated Peoples shows their strong connection to the US hip hop underground. The production on this track is good as well, however I'm a little disappointed that when it came to the tracks with MC's on it, they only decided to make do with just the turntables and sampler with the occaisional bass or guitar courtesy of Mr. Wherry.
Getting a little more upbeat is Time 2 Build featuring UK hip hop's ever so dependable Blade. Good track to listen to after the slow beats and Blade showing off his ever-so-potent-flow-with-diss rap style.
Mr. Holmes is a relaxed hip hop/trip hop or whatever you like to call it... it's a song, and a good one at that. It's not talking about some porn star either. This is one which you can sit back with the headphones on and read a book to. Very atmospheric and chilled to the bone a la Nightmares On Wax in his Smoker's Delight days.
Wildflower represents the female MC contingency with Good Girl Gone Bad... nice track, especially if you can get it on 12" vinyl or CD single... why? cos it has a remix of Verbal Anime as well... 2 great hip hop tracks on one 12". Can it get any sweeter?
Phi Life Cypher appear on Distinguished Jamaican English. They tend to rip apart any hip hop track they appear on. They turned Mark B & Blade's "Ya Don't See The Signs" from an awesome track to a damn awesome track with their ragga coated rhyme flow and delivery and they don't disappoint with this track.
Battle Of Bongo Hill features sometime Herbaliser cohort, Malachi, on the percussion, tearing it up as you would normally on a Bongo infused track. If they ever played live in Oz again, this one would be one of the tracks I'd like to see being played as it is as much of a Breakdancer's call as it is a homage to some classic Bongo tracks (did someone say Apache?)
The album couldn't have been titled any better. It definitely is Something Wicked. A bit of a step up from Very Mercenary which, although it is one of my fave Ninjatune albums, seems to be a bit lost in direction compared to Blow Your Headphones and this release. This one is quite a good release.