Thursday, 1 April 2010

'Music & Mouthwords' - No Pretense (album review)

A quick look at the cover art and a prior knowledge of lead single ‘Self Harmonic’ featuring Cage will more than certainly mislead you. You’ll think that you know what ‘Music & Mouthwords’ has in store for you – but you’ll almost certainly be wrong.

You see, No Pretense are multidimensional; they don’t just do dark, twisted Hip Hop, they do it all. Don’t be fooled by titles like ‘Darkskies’ – this particular track is one of the least cheesy but most honest and heartfelt love songs Hip Hop has ever produced. The vein of sincerity and reality runs thick and deep – ‘Keep Breathing’ is written in such a way that it could be metaphorically describing a number of things, but it’s the stark reality of it that is the true subject matter – leaving behind a life of drug use. Tracks like ‘Fallen’ and ‘Death of a Star’ are a fine balance of lyricism and thought provoking ideas.

It’s not only Cage who represents the US here. None other than Prince Po turns up on ‘Elevation’ and drops a dope verse alongside Belinda Hards’ perfect sung chorus. Belinda Hards, of Knew Jeru’slum, appears elsewhere on the album and there’s no doubt her contributions are more than just filling gaps.

Eliphino’s rich sample pool has provided a sonic backdrop unlike any other. This isn’t boom bap, this isn’t old school styled, this certainly isn’t today’s chart fodder – this is just Hip Hop. In fact, if Don’t Talk To Strangers fancy releasing this as an instrumental album too, I, for one, wouldn’t mind. Cuts from Brutal Artistry add to the realness.

As things move along the album does get more shadowy. The absolute departure from crunchy drums and dusty production on ‘Wyrmslaya’ featuring Chief Wigz heralds vivid imagery based on various conspiracy theories over pumping synths. Bane and Mury P are joined by Chief Wigz, Spida Lee and Propticz on the militant beat of ‘Trife & Trivia’ – a banging posse cut for real.

With a keen sense of making a well rounded product and unashamedly Yorkshire accents No Pretense definitely bring something different into a flooded market. It's out now so order it for £5 only by clicking here.

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