What’s that? You’ve never heard of Hereford? Fair enough, not many people have, so let me paint the scene. Picture a winding river flowing through a small market city set in beautiful countryside, with the sweet sent of cider hanging in the air. Got it? Good.
It is important to grasp this picture fully to appreciate how extraordinary the sound created by Hereford-based band The Anomalies actually is. The eclectic mix of drum and bass and swing jazz with thick layers of hip hop, funk and (why not?) swing, never comes close to sounding like the mess that it should be. In fact, it's important for me to stress enough the inventiveness of merging these styles into tunes that a manic depressive with concrete shoes could not fail to dance to...and with a great big smile on his face at that.
It’s a feat for which The Anomalies’ DJ Mayhem must be given much credit. MCs Mouthmaster Murf (so named by beat box legend Killa Kella) and Goldseal provide sharp, old-skool hip hop lyrical wit, making astute observations of modern life. This is music that does not take itself too seriously and is all the better for it; the songs are wonderful, and the contrasting styles of the two MCs play off each other with real frivolity. And all this is beautifully underpinned by the soft, female vocal talents of Lo.
The intriguing mix of musical styles is reminiscent of an inherently large range of musicians, ranging from The Beastie Boys to James Brown though to the Happy Mondays and Mr Scruff. This wonderful musical melange is showcased beautifully on their single Employee of the Month, an inventive approach to the familiar ‘under-paid and under-valued’ subject matter.
On Hats and Glasses, their lyrical versatility is further displayed; "# She had a T-shirt with a picture of Penelope Pitstop/ I could see, she’s got an art degree #", painting scenes that perfectly evoke "# the kind of party where all the cool kids are wearing hats and glasses#".
As you might expect, their musical exploits have not gone unrewarded, thanks to illustrious support slots with the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Scratch Perverts and DJ Yoda. The Anomalies have also been attracting many plaudits on tour with, Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip working them into their single Thou Shalt Always Kill; “#...Arctic Monkeys? Just a band/ The Anomalies? Just a band#”.
So, all high praise indeed, but go and listen to them and you’ll see it’s all more than justified. Then, go and find Hereford on the map.
words: Will Bugler
The Anomalies will be appearing on Channel M's City Centre Social on Wednesday, January 23rd, broadcast on Sky Digital 203. They undertake a UK tour in February 2008 - check their MySpace for a comprehensive list of dates and locations. The band release The Hand That Lights My Cigarette and Bamboo Beats as a double A-side in February 2008.