So Norfolk hasn’t really stirred the UK musical pot a great deal in the past (notable exception being Beth Orton), but judging by a couple of recent finds, the tide may be turning. As it happens, we at DnV have something of a soft spot for the eastern coastal county, so we’ve decided to showcase a couple of big releases that have been spreading their crab like claws around the music-a-web over the past couple of months. Enough with the Norfolk based puns, let’s talk music.
It’s far too easy these days to slap ten tunes on Soundcloud, call it a Mixtape / Album / Extended EP and expect the world to fall into your lap. What’s not so easy is to do that with a suite of material that delivers a message and sonics that are original and honest. We say with the utmost sincerity that the coming together of Maya Law and Allergy Kid on their debut full length release ‘Her or Him’ delivers exactly that. So who are these new cats on the scene?
Honest answer, we don’t know a great deal about either of them. Aside from a few (under-viewed) BBC Introducing videos of Ms. Law and some grainy footage of a home recording session in what appears to be Allergy Kid’s control bunker, there’s very little we can offer you. So let’s move on to the more important question of ¿what can we expect from their sounds?
Vocally, Law delivers composed, warm, broadly well annunciated lyrics that have a subtle warbling texture. At times we hear her glide seamlessly into a more casually pronounced spoken word style, which when coupled with the poignantly penned lyrical content, comes across as nothing short of genuine. There are confessional and starkly honest lyrics throughout: ‘Take It From Me’ is a stunningly mature portrait of teenage sexuality, a theme which can be inferred in the the following track ‘Can’t Get Calmer’. Questions relating to experiences felt in early relationships come up again in ‘Safe & Sound’ – “It’s rough, but I’m too sensitive to sightsee” being the pick of the palabras. The evocative nature of what Law delivers in her performances are a powerful ability in such a youthful writer.
The flourishes of Law’s vocals are complemented exquisitely by the impactful yet balanced beats and delicately choreographed ambiance crafted by Allergy Kid. The sheer depth of the soundscape on tracks like ‘Conscience At Home’ has you feeling as though you are falling through the central space in a torus only to be drawn back round to the top, ready to dive again. If what we are hearing is the start of a breadcrumb trail into Allergy Kid’s musical mind we will continue to follow the path it charts with all the greed of Bruce Bogtrotter faced with an oversized chocolate cake.
A notable mention is also offered to the guest vocalists and bar-smiths who grace the release: High Priest Cabrakan (more on him soon), D’lore and Harvey Causon, all of whom we will be keeping a keen eye on in the months to come.
In summary, and for those keen to have a label to hang this release on, it’s dreamy, luscious hip-hop beats coupled with conscious, soulfully delivered vocals. But let’s not put things in boxes when there’s no need. That said, with Christmas but two weeks away, you could do a lot worse than wrap a copy of this and place it under the tree. Buy direct from their Bandcamp (and for more than the ticket price of £4, it deserves it).
A tip of the cap to Alphabet Bands for alerting us to this one.