Some bands entirely define their time, however brief their reign or their time may be. De La Soul was one such band, and Three Feet High And Rising is so 1989 the CD may as well be sold in a day-glo hi-top trainer. The logical culmination of a decade of hip-hop, sampling and E-fuelled peace ‘n’ love, the album, the band and the times are neatly encapsulated in one album.
As soon as their own brilliance put a legal stop to their sample-snaffling practices, audiences’ attention wandered. How many other De La Soul albums do you own? De La Soul, like many before them, were victims of their own success.
One of the interesting aspects of their success was that there was no legion of imitators spawned, no modern adaption of their sound. They so defined a specific moment, that any attempts of imitation would seem instantly dated.
Young Fathers have not copied De La Soul. I imagine that many reviews of their music, like this one, will mention them in the same breath, though. The parallels drawn will not be accusational, but admiring – Young Fathers are a band that have finally captured some of that free-wheeling, open-minded creativity without resorting to brazen copying.
Superpop has the same home-made feel, and the same wide-eyed enthusiasm, but that’s all. The sound is a brilliant, jerky 8-bit-hip-hop-disco melt-up of their own design, so happy and bright that your speakers will leak egg-yellow sunshine. It’s an old-fashioned pop song with an insanely catchy melody appealing to all.
Straight Back On It wrestles with Blaxploitation themes, and emerges victorious with a funked-up blast, neither parody nor cheap copy.
Young Fathers have made music that hasn’t been heard for years – hip-hop that’s fun, colourful, unpretentious, loud and creative. Don’t waste time wondering why no-one else has done it this well for so long, just plug straight in to their technicolour world and enjoy.