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Something Wicked This Way Comes is a mischievously gleeful carnival ride through groove-laden funk, hip-hop and soul. The Herbaliser rolls with a crew that is deep with fork-tongued lyricists and a badass horn section to add to the studio genius that is Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba. Tracks like "Worldwide Connected", "24 Carat Blag" and "Mr Holmes" carry the dramatic, mysterious orchestration of a James Bond movie soundtrack. Layers of thick funk instrumentation and rumbling basslines provide the foundation while Lyricists like Iriscience (of Dilated Peoples), MF Doom and Blade fuel the verbal fires. Each MC adds his/her own character to the personality of the album. Iriscience brings precise lyrical dexterity, Wildflower lives up to her name with her diamond-in-the-rough, heavily accented cockney rhymes and Phi Life Cypher comes with West Indian street wisdom. The whole album sounds like the aural equivalent of a Guy Ritchie movie – irreverent, carefully orchestrated but carried off with a devil-may-care shrug of perfectly stylized musical shoulders, and above all, cool as hell. A dark tone pervades the album, in keeping with its cheeky grin of a title. With Something Wicked This Way Comes the Herbaliser invites you not just to listen, but to step inside its world and meet the characters.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.