Dave Hook has done a lot for Scottish rap music in recent years, as frontman of Stanley Odd and often one man in the wilderness – Scottish people can’t rap, eh?
So it is a bold move that he has released a full solo album, albeit supported ably on the beats by Harvey Kartel. It is a large canvass of 14 tracks, a window into Dave, aka MC Solareye’s world, and his take on a number of subjects. BM has listened to this quite a few times and is still digesting the content – this works at a load of different levels…
Sleepiness, and sleeplessness, is a recurring theme, along with alcohol, family responsibilities, mental health and the wider context of Scotland in 2018, but among all this there are great tunes, personal revelations and a real humanity – ‘All These People’, indeed. And it can get angry, scabrous, and shouty – no excuses!
For BM the highlights are the title track, which builds up to a real rant (with amazing beats backing), Mr Margins (alienation with a drum and bass breakdown) and Shutter Island” but probably ‘Raindrops/Brainbox’ and ‘Klepto&Sons’ nail Solareye’s thing best.
There are moments of bravado (‘The Ill Somniloquist’) and at times the wordplay and punning is just dazzling. As said before, the soundscapes are also peerless, ‘Klepto &Sons’ sears though the air with Kartel upping the ante while Solareye matches dissing with self-deprecation.
And Solareye is always self-conscious and self-referencing – ‘Hatekeeperz’ addresses his scene critics. The track is hilarious, self-parodising but seething with righteous scorn about the haters.
This is a compelling, at times hard listen, but there are plenty of jokes and plenty to pump yer first to, and in a live situation Solareye is a hugely enjoyable thing. There are also links between the dense tracks here, and it works very well as a collection of tracks – an artistic achievement, indeed.
BM advises her readers to Stay Odd!