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BLACK GRAPE - ORANGE HEAD

WE REVIEW THE NEW ALBUM FROM BLACK GRAPE – ORANGE HEAD

It’s been 6 years since Black Grape released their last album, but they’re back with fresh, new offering ‘Orange Head;’ an amalgamation of dance rock and hip hop, infused with a multitude of instruments.

The whole album screams dark and experimental, and it’s clear that they’ve spent a lot of time perfecting this. Opening with ‘Dirt,’ gives us the perfect opportunity to see what we’re getting into with this album. The perfect balance of Paul ‘Kermit’ Leveridge’s word play and Shaun Ryder’s ad-lib is just a taste of the rest of the album.

With ‘Pimp Wars,’ ‘Button Eyes,’ and ‘Loser,’ each song feels like a nod back to Ryder’s psychedelia fuelled time in the 90s with Happy Mondays. Filled to the brim with Ska, pops of synth and a multitude of instruments (harmonica’s even!), each song feels like soft clashing of genres, coming together to make suave beats that make you want to get on a dancefloor. I do think Ryder might need to work on his Spanish a little bit, though.

‘Milk,’ was the first song I heard off the album, capturing the essence of electro pop through experimental sounds and overflowing with funk, showing Ryder’s natural swagger effortlessly. ‘Quincy,’ felt very similar (who’d have thought Black Grape using flutes would be simply inspired!?), groovy and with an undeniable rhythm, at this point, Ryder’s vocal was just decoration to the incredible undertone of the track.

Kermit’s hip hop influences did not go amiss on this album, in fact I don’t think it could’ve been made without them. Taking the forefront on ‘Sex On The Beach,’ his lyrics smoothly intertwined with the beat underneath, and it felt like we’d gone full circle with the record as a whole.

At first, I wasn’t totally convinced with the album and was unsure of what it might hold, almost scared to listen to the next track. However, by the end, I felt like I could really get behind each track, and appreciate that ‘Orange Head,’ is a massive middle finger to everyone who doubted them, and the ultimate way to tell people that Black Grape is back. 

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