Young Fathers – Tape One

Rapping about Cock a Leekie soup? You’d better believe it.

The re-release of Young Fathers is developing into something of a hit chez nous. It’s diverse, sharp, and in many respects an attractive, approachable record. Because of all of that it’s (sadly) all too short. Still, Tape One is snappy – packed full of smart observations too, often lists of words, and with a fierce focus given to their message; RRamada and Sister sound like sharp tales of love and (for want of a better moniker) “street fun”… It’s funny stuff in its own way. There’s a nice sense of balance and proportion to the content, despite the raps being pretty wry and lugubrious in their execution. Deadline sounds like a roll call of hard luck stories, set to a simple and effective chant and at times – such as on Remains - things get closer to the sort of heady messages / surreal streams of consciousness that Clinton used to knock out on things like Tales of Kid Funkadelic. Rapping about Cock a Leekie soup? You’d better believe it.

But what really sets this record of is the interplay of atmospherics, their music is really, really strong in this regard, simply put you get carried along by the sound into accepting the message: Romance is a slightly grimy, bouncing rap with a daft synth coda, a squidgy underwater reggae, a glutinous patina of scratchy, tinny sounds laid on top. There’s a certain cheekiness about it, and Fortunes is at turns an address and a whoopalong prayer meeting. Why the marvellous Dar-Eh Dar Da Du, with its reedy Casio line and whispered vocals instantly reminded me of High Class Butcher by Julian Cope is just one of life’s mysteries. No matter if it doesn’t for you, it’s a great track, full of charm and a driven on by a tub-thumping goblin beat.

It’s a great listen.