The Scribes – Quill Equipped Villainy
Release Date: Out Now
If you haven’t hooked in to Westcountry Hip-Hop trio the Scribes yet then a) what have you been up to and b) now is the time. Splitting their time between Bristol and Plymouth, the three piece have created an outstanding new album in the shape of ‘Quill Equipped Villainy’ and not only is it jam-packed full of infectious tunes it is also incredibly witty and articulate. Take the opening track, for example, on which ‘Back in Effect’ shows the band in energetic form with determined beats, skittish samples and a real sense of confidence and lyrics like “this is not a rap this is my inner demon stuck in text”. Track 2, ‘Get Down’, sees the outfit draft in none-other than Akil the MC from Jurassic 5 and it makes total sense on a laid back flow that should have crowds bouncing in euphoric unison.
‘Righteous’ welcomes Leon Rhymes from Too Many Ts on board for an uplifting crowd pleaser before ‘Block War’ gets dark on our asses with a spooky melody underpinning a lyrical flow about writers block that will resonate with anyone up against a creative deadline. Using a gorgeous Motown sample, ‘Priceless’ has a guest appearance by Blacksmith and if you’re not bobbing your head and feeling damn cool by the end of this then you’ve got no soul. There’s a sublime organ noodle on ‘Punch Drunk’ that is punctured by a beat that sounds as drunk and stumbling as the protagonist in this story but leaves me wondering what a Lack of Afro vs the Scribes mash-up would sound like.
‘Green Gin’ opens with the honky-tonk vocal of “Green Gin makes my hair grow” before a steady but malevolent beat and piano riff join in to tell a sad tale. Lifting the spirits comes ‘Day in Chicago Cypher’ which has a real Wu-Tang Clan vibe to it before ‘Brave New World’ brings a hyper-active energy to the party with minimal instrumentation but smooth layered vocals. Phil Jeong guests on ‘Adrenaline’ which swings between Busta Rhymes and Jurassic 5 with an ode to drinking decaf that makes me want to dance – a first for me, I think. ‘Bad Meaning Good’ swaggers in like the Hulk in a hoodie ready for a dance-off all chugging bass notes and Gorillaz-esque choruses.
As we approach the climax of this party we are treated to ‘Get Live’ with Bodega Brovaz and Goose along for the horn-fuelled fun times singing “Come on y’all get live, get down” with all the chilled energy of Warren G. The album closes with ‘Vice Grip’ and one last guest in the shape of TrueMendous with the opening line of “So, I’m out of dope, I’m feeling broke” and then we’re treated to an ode to green set to jazzy guitars. I’m genuinely baffled as to why the Scribes aren’t a bigger deal in the UK or further afield but I would really urge you to put your phone on silent and let this one seep in to your subconscious. Give it a couple of listens and when I say listen I really mean listen – you won’t regret it.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/scribesmusic/
30th August – Mr Wolf’s, Bristol