Stanley Odd

Bumper, Hardman Street
21st May 2010

Reviewed by Richard Lewis

In keeping with the warm weather outside the venue this evening, Stanley Odd are a group who would be best appreciated at an outdoor festival. In places evoking the spirit, if not the sound of main stage favourites Faithless, the group who hail variously from Scotland, Norway and Germany play live hip-hop mixed with funk, electronica and a good deal of social commentary.

Boasting a clear Soul II Soul influence, at points the group also sound like retro-fixated New York hipsters Dee-Lite and urban pop group Stereo MCs. Fitting in with the old school hip-hop format of having long tracks crammed full of verses, the band differ from the template laid down by The Sugar Hill Gang and De La Soul by having live instrumentation. Supplemented by guitar, drums, keyboards, bass and samples provided by a laptop, vocalists Soniceye and Veronika stalk around Bumper’s compact stage, dividing their vocals roughly between the former on verses and the latter on choruses.

The old hip-hop ethos of drawing from a myriad of sources to create a new sound is in evidence as the sextet move from hands-aloft anthemic dance to funk basslines, to pop choruses in the space of one track. A particular highlight, second track ‘Sundance’ concerns a ne'er-do-well the lead singer fancied in school, who later became a call girl. Being propositioned and not realising at the time, the truth only dawned on him later. Pointed without being in-yer-face, think more Grand Master Flash than Public Enemy, the best example of the groups’ oeuvre is recent single ‘Think of a Number’.

Drawing to a close after the regulation six-song set performers are allocated, the group prove the breadth of the acts booked to play Sound City this year, as live hip-hop in the city is still quite a rarity.


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