Essential re-issue of the early years of eventual Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers. 'Tape 1' and 'Tape 2' saw the band honing their near unclassifiable sound which blends hip-hop with influences from indie, jazz and soul. 'Tape 1' in particular is totally magnificent - a call to arms that ensured that we were in the presence of something really special.
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Original reviews from way back in time.
Not heard much really good on Anticon for a long while but this really eats the proverbial biscuit. A hip hop troupe straight out of the mean streets of Edinburgh these lads bring an energy and invention otherwise unseen in (let’s call it) avant-hop for quite some time. But don’t fret this ain’t no DoseOne obscure-fest - this is catchy, tuneful, vibrant music with thumping beats, storming samples and incredible vocal dexterity. Check opener ‘Deadline’ with its early TV on The Radio fuzz bass tone and stellar vocals putting lines in your head you ain’t never gonna forget.
‘Sister’ has rambunctious African influenced voices with flowing rhyme and energy in spades. ‘Rumbling’ with low end bass drones, eerie eastern influenced samples and layered vox sometimes it’s like like a De La Soul who only listened to Animal Collective. Just when you have it figured the gorgeous lolloping ‘Romance’ knocks the other tracks out of the water, ‘70s dancehall samples, clattering steel drums and keening reggae vocals. ‘Remains’ is a freakin’ pop hit whichever way you look at it a chart aiming slab of a chorus married with scattershot verse, showcasing the talents of each MC whilst...yes you are about to read this right...Young Marble Giants play in the background.
My breath has well and truly been taken away by this superb record. It throws a wild slew of influences into the pot and comes out with something brand new. They seem to inject each track with an incredible vibrancy, a keen use of rhythm and above all hooks galore. It should be force fed to ailing youth and in an ideal world would be streaming from radios everywhere. Tremendous.
If you buy one record this year buy ‘Tape One’ by Young Fathers. It really is a stunner. This is the follow up and...is that child wearing a ‘Chic’ t shirt on the cover? If so, I want one. Young Fathers are that rarest of things, a hip hop outfit from Edinburgh who sample Young Marble Giants amongst other things. They most closely resemble the early and raw TV On The Radio circa that amazing ‘Young Liars’ record.
Their sound is summed up in ‘Come To Life’ where home made beats collide with early day electronics and are overlaid by distinctive vocals that veer between quick fire rap and chanted choralled choruses. They have a knack of then layering everything up so it all works together. I don’t think ‘Tape Two’ quite lives up to the hook filled ‘Tape One’, its not as immediate and contains more ideas out of the left field, though ‘Queen is Dead’ somehow recalls Cypress Hill.
‘Freefalling’ suggests the chanted vocal styling may eventually wear thin but ‘Mr Martyr’ creates such an unusual style of hip hop with its Phil Spector ‘Be my Baby’ drums and eerie synth pads. And if ‘Way Down in the Hole’ doesn’t sample ‘Toy Soldiers’ by Martika then it certainly sounds like it. So not quite up to the standard of their previous “tape” but their vocal dexterity and magpie-like way of picking up samples and sounds here and there makes them one of the most distinctive and unusual collectives in British hip hop.
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- Tape One / Tape Two by Young Fathers
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