Hull is unique. Can a unique hip hop sound come out of it? What do you do with those peculiar vowel sounds?
This EP is Chiedu Oraka's latest offering, a new chapter in Hull's hip hop story.
There's an engaging honesty about his rhymes on this record. Domestic items blend with a professed desire for
household status ('the game needs a wash and I'm the Dove'; 'got some waste in my circle/Like a permanent stain,
I need that Persil').
Oraka's not afraid of rapping about his values, either. He makes it very clear where he draws lines, who's
in and who isn't.
Those vowel sounds, too. He's making them work.
And the beats are solid -
From the smashed glass and thunderclaps of Loudest the Brokest to the alien chants on the outro,
Stewart Baxter's selected range of sounds is spectacular. Delightfully, Oraka stands up to the
challenges posed by the mix. He skips and glides around the laser keys on Thinkin'.
He hustles through the spooky corridors on Hardest Out (accompanied by a near flawless guest spot
from LS). And he serves up wide-eyed earnest; I make it for your daughters, I make it for your sons/I
make it for your grandparents with just gums' in Name in Lights.
The production consistently delivers the epic framings demanded from the booth.
On the title track, Oraka poses a good question: what does graft sound like?
The answer is dark, ruthless majesty and quicksand bass. 'Put in the work, put in
the graft,' he spits, nimble and menacing above a crawling pulse and a stately piano. It's hypnotic.
The hard-refined contempt; 'play your position, I'll play mine/I'll be on the pitch, you'll
be on the touchline', sounds like a man grappling in a sonic black hole.
It's a juggernaut of a track and, as far as I'm concerned, the EP's standout offering.
WorkRate finds Chiedu Oraka at an interesting junction between youth and experience. He's entertaining
ambition and self-doubt; he's loving and aggressive. It's clear he's on an interesting journey.
It seems fair to say that he hasn't arrived quite yet, but this EP is a frequently inspiring listen.
Signing off, he declares: 'You can see that I'm real with no lens/I'm lifting the scene with no
bench/I'm raising the bar with no strength' and I buy all of it. Chiedu Oraka is real.
Above all, WorkRate gestures at a highly exciting prospect: a new sound.
Album Reviews - Thomas Truax and the Parting Gift Reviewed by Michelle Dee
On April 17th, Thomas Truax, the famed travelling showman stops off once again in Hull. The Have Hornicator, Will Travel tour pulls in at the
New Adelphi Club: 'heart of live music in the city', with more wondrous anti-folk from the New York musician.
Last year Thomas released a very special collection known as Monthly Journal. Below is an unpublished article about the release,
Album Reviews - Can Stand the Rain by The Talks Reviewed by Jonathan Cain
In the history of Hull's scene, we have seen many different genres of bands all varying from post hardcore to indie rock. However in the case of The Talks, their varying sound is both unique and a delight to listen to, their fusion of Reggae, Punk and Indie has always been a joy to the ear of many. So therefore I am glad to announce another triumph for the Hull lads as they release their latest single, Can Stand the Rain.
Album Reviews - Adventure Time by The Cute Lepers Reviewed by Dick Spring
With opening track Tribute to Charlie (Harper of the legendary U.K Subs) the bar was set high for the third album by Seattle punks, The Cute Lepers.
With the sloppy sleaze of New York Dolls in their prime and some bright brass it definitely has a nod to said band.Stevie Nix seems to have mastered the lazy drawling vocal style
Album Reviews - Live Now, Pay Later by The Talks Reviewed by Jonathan Cain
Anyone who has been following the local music scene in Hull would be aware of the greatest ska band to ever grace its streets. I am, of course talking about The Talks - fabled to be the most successful band Hull has produced in recent years and prophesied to be as big as The Beautiful South one day by fans.
Now that you're reading this you're probably thinking 'What's your point, Jonny?' Read more...
Album Reviews - Ben Parcell - Humble Beginnings Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Coolly constituting the stunning debut solo LP from former Trailers front man, Ben Parcell, this lush ten-track offering hears Ben's voice at its best. Opening with the subtly anthemic beauty of Close Your Eyes, right from the utterly entrancing off, the production values assert their presence, the textured mix of guitar, drums and vocals luring the listener in from the very first verse.
Album Reviews - Hurray for the Riff Raff Reviewed by Michelle Dee
The tough looking girl on the cover, the open shirt and upturned collar defy me to press play. By time the opening instrumental track is done I'm hooked. Hurray for the Riff Raff scratch dollars and dimes while leaving a mark on your soul and are the latest signing of London based label Loose Music.
I read the sleeve notes by Gabe Soria, savouring the narrative arc. Train-hopping? Crescent City? Whiskey and blood?
Album Reviews - Signe Tollefsen By Michelle Dee
It has been four years since Dutch/American singer/songwriter Signe Tollefsen played live at the Lamp in Hull. That night she wowed the audience with a set overflowing with songs of sheer beauty and extraordinary vocal prowess.
Since then Signe has been awarded Best Musician at Grote Prijs van Nederland, Holland's most
Album Reviews - The James Warner Prophecies - Fell Reviewed by Steve Rudd
I vehemently stand by my claim. The James Warner Prophecies are one of the finest bands in the UK. And that's why I remain so confused, because if you ask the average person on the street, they have never heard of the band, let alone their life enhancing music. If I can help change that, I shall ... beginning now.
I've said it before and I'll definitely say it again: this quartet is something
Album Reviews - Twilight of the Thunder God - Amon Amarth By James Green
There is a fundamental reason why Amon Amarth were voted international band of the year 2008 by metal hammer magazine, even though I don't read metal hammer magazine due to the fact that I am into much heavier stuff, I could not agree more with metal hammer about the decision they made.
Amon Amarth are most likely to
be one of the greatest melodic death metal bands of the decade, and in 2008
Album Reviews - Nat Johnson and the Figureheads - Roman Radio (Damaged Goods) By Dick Spring
For 21 years now, the Damaged Goods label has brought the world a riot of punk rock
and guitar pop bands, even 'discovering' the Manic Street Preachers along the way.
Alongside this indulgence and guiding the career of medway marauders like Billy Childish,
Thee Headcoats, Pete Molinari etc, it seems to have a penchant for an
interesting female vocal as well.
There seems to be a similarly diverse strategy to this also, with the likes of Helen Love
alongside Fabienne Delsol, and label stalwart Holly Golightly.
EP Reviews - The Sugars - Gossip By Steve Rudd
They might be called The Sugars, but not everything about this band is sweet, for their confrontational
rock n roll sound is dark and deadly in equal measure, as exhilarating elements of Blues and Soul creep
into their arrangements to make their music all the more interesting and engaging.
Released through Bad Sneakers Record, Gossip is a sensational tune, anchored by Alex Lewis's irresistible
beat, a funk-tastic bass-line, and genuinely cool
Single Reviews - Hey Negrita - You Can Kick Reviewed by Steve Rudd
London-based boys Hey Negrita have been rightfully turning heads with their succulent blend of Blues, Rock and Americana since 2002, and this, their third studio album, helps to further cement their reputation as a highly original band par excellence.
Right from the opening strains of Room Service through to the final chord progression of The Last Thing That I Do, the listener can't fail to be entranced by each and every track on this 12-song-strong wonder.
Single Reviews - Plough and Orion by Skinny Lister Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Scheduled for release on August 24, this single from London-based outfit Skinny Lister is a simply divine song which deserves as much radio-play as it can muster. Anchored by an irresistible melody and a soothing vocal performance, it coolly tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers, detailing the intolerable cruelty of being away from somebody that you truly adore.
A mid-paced gem of a tune, this is Alternative Indie-Pop as it's meant to be, with
CD Reviews - Winds Of Time - Glenn Williams and The Ullbillies (Lazy Swede Productions) By Jim Soars - Courtesy Of Maverick Country Music Magazine
Hull's very own Glenn Williams is one of the hardest working composers and musicians in the UK country roots crossover genre. His latest release Winds of Time highlights his song writing credentials with ten new tracks making their first appearance.
Again ably assisted by his regular band The Ullbillies that comprise guitarist / percussionist / keys