Scottish hip hop. Three words that rank alongside sticky Thatcher thong in striking terror into the heart of the man in the street. But fear not good people of the street, because with second album ‘Reject’, Stanley Odd might be just about to land a blow with one of the sharpest, smartest, and most salient albums of the year.
Opening track ‘This Is Stanley Odd’ set the scene for 45 minutes of scuzzy but solid beats and slightly skewed social commentary. Dave Hook swings around rhymes to an old school beat and Veronika Electronica provides a harmonious counterpoint to the initial tales of “double dunters and demon drink”.
So far, so well above average, but it’s on second track ‘Antiheroics’ that you can start to tell there is something special going on. Politically charged doesn’t even come close. Are you looking for a snapshot of the political landscape in Britain today, where you nod your head 50% to the beat and 50% in agreement with every savage word spat? Look no further… Coalition? Labour? SNP? Bend over. Not interested in politics? You’re even worse.
‘Killergram’ is a subversive take on the UK hip-hop drugs’n’gun-r-us scene, while ‘Going Through The Motions’ touches on mental health. ‘Join The Club’ should be a warning on spiralling out of control due to drink and drugs but turns out being a really fun game of ‘have I been pished in that pub’. All tracks share the same precision patter (which I’d love to include here if it didn’t look so shit written down) but shouldn’t overshadow the top-notch musical content from the rest of the ‘Odds’.
Recent single ‘Marriage Counselling’ isn’t just the best song on the album, it’s one of the best I’ve heard all year. It’s also to my ears the only track talking about the arrival of the most important decision in Scottish History, never mind the fact that it’s delivered with such style.
If I’ve got a complaint it’s that Veronika could try to mix up the style of her backing vocals, they do start to become a bit samey and predicable, but that seems petty when the I’m about to make comparisons with Scroobius Pip, Pirate Material-era Streets and Gill Scott Herron. If there’s a revolution coming, it may not be televised but I know who will be soundtracking it.