I press play. All of a sudden my hair unlocks and – POP – I’m sporting an afro. My cargo shorts melt into bellbottoms while the ceiling bleeds striped pastel wallpaper. The carpet’s suddenly three inches deep and the adorable little 90-something-pound blonde on the couch explodes into a young Pam Grier.
The Herbaliser (named for Peter Herbolzeimer, Swiss jazz composer) is out to funk you ridiculous with their fourth album, Something Wicked This Way Comes. Herbaliser masterminds Jake Wherry (bass and beats) and Ollie Teeba (tables), picked up a funk band for touring after the release of their last album, Very Mercenary.
On Something Wicked, they brought the band into the studio, feeding the Herbaliser style (sample driven hip hop beats over dusty funk grooves) a heaping helping of actual instruments – care of Chris Bowden, The Easy Access Orchestra, Echo Strings and London funk gurus Kadi Tatham and Ollie Parfitt.
Coming on the heels of the group’s contribution to the “Snatch” soundtrack (thanks to a word in Guy Ritchie’s ear from Madonna), Something Wicked foregrounds the Herbaliser’s cinematic techniques of production. The album is split – half rap-driven tracks, featuring, among others, Dilated Peoples’ Raaka Iriscience, the otherworldly vocal stylings of Seaming To, and Gorillaz touranauts Phi Life Cypher. The other half is made up of instrumentals with an ear toward the rich history of funk, especially soundtracks from ’70s blacksploitation and thriller films.
So Soul Glo(tm) up that nappy mop, put on some polyester and strut your shit to the nearest authorized dealer of wicked tracks. They’ll trade you the album for something as worthless as money.