Words: Ian Clement.
It must be tough to write a follow up to a record that was so successful that it was nominated for awards and in many top ten lists at the end of the year. The record in question is Stanley Odd’s “Reject” which showed a natural evolution for the band where MC Solareye showcased his more mature ideas and lyrics, and the band as whole moved away from guitar-orientated music to electronic beats, which worked massively in their favour.
Now it’s time for the “difficult third album” to shine. Thankfully though, “A Thing Brand New” happens to be Stanley Odd to be at their most mature and their most creative. Overall this is a record that’s dealing with fatherhood and frustration at the current political climate. Tracks such as “Pastime”, “The Walking Dead” and “Son I Voted Yes” show this off better than the rest of the whole album. But the best thing Stanley Odd do is that they never shove their views in your face with a “we’re right and you’re wrong” attitude. Just like past offerings, it’s clear that they want to encourage discussion and for you to come up to your own conclusions. For example, album closer “Son I Voted Yes” is giving the reasons why Solareye decided to vote Yes on the recent referendum (if the title didn’t make that obvious to you), yet it’s clear that he doesn’t judge anyone who went the other way.
It also isn’t the lyrics that are what make this record such a compelling listen however. Musically, this is the most creative hip-hop album to come out in recent years. It would have been easy to do a “Reject” part two and do more of the same, and it would still have been a good listen. Instead though, we get a track like “Pastime” which has a luscious country-esque riff driving the whole track forward and “Monsoon Season” which mixes a hip-hop beats with an Asian flavour and it doesn’t at all sound like a gimmick.
The elephant in the room though is that the only thing that might stop you from enjoying this record would be your own personal political beliefs, which would be a shame overall if people dismiss “A Thing Brand New” for that very reason, especially since the band isn’t forcing you to think differently. It’s understandable, but I can see some people deciding to be narrow minded and just ignoring everything to do with this album for that very reason. Also, some people don’t choose to listen to music to discuss politics and that’s fine too.
Ultimately though, you would be doing yourself a disservice though if you don’t check out “A Thing Brand New”. This is Stanley Odd at their most creative and their most passionate and they’ve once again proved that they are one of the most unique and exciting bands that are in Scotland at the moment.
Released: 10th November