HERBALISER Same As It Never Was (K7) Rating: NNN
Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry recently left Ninja Tune (and their prime spot in the beatmaker's universe) but evidently kept their time machine. On this LP they craft a few wonderful themes for sequences in some obscure 70s blaxploitation flick. My favourite is The Next Spot, in which the nearly defeated heroes miraculously discover their last hope against a global adversary and save themselves from the brink of death with some super invention. You can truly see the scenes in your mind.
Multi-collaborator and nearly retired rap assassin Jean Grae makes an Iceberg Slim-worthy appearance on the fractured family tale Street Karma, while 22-year-old Stax-inspired singer Jessica Darling is the five-times-visited velvet-voiced singer we hope to hear more from in the future. Nearly treading into Dap-Kings territory with their anachronistic ideas, they endearingly adhere to the soul/funk fundamentals.
Though Same As It Never Was isn't groundbreaking like Blow Your Headphones, it would make a decent soundtrack to your next low-key gathering of chums. Don't miss Toronto/Montreal's More or Les double-timing his way across the playful Game Set And Match, or the sinister turn of horny aggression completing Blackwater Drive. It'd make Shaft smile.