Hmmm. Maybe so in LA’s South Central, or Eastside…… but in Edinburgh it’s a little bit different. Staying true to their roots and rapping / singing about what they know, STANLEY ODD are six individuals with varied musical backgrounds, but with a common interest in the hip-hop style. They may be disaffected with certain political and social issues but choose not to convey their ire by bravado chest beating and advocating violence. Oh no, no, no.
Rather, they utilise the traditional, wry, dry, black sometimes self-deprecating Scottish sense of humour. That, and through the medium of vocalist Solareye’s pointed, observant lyrics and his expressive rapped delivery, creating hard-hitting, thought-provoking images in the mind of the listener.
Take ‘The Controller’ for example: the fourth of the five tracks on this EP lasts some five minutes and describes the obsessive ‘Game Controller’ as he moves the different ‘skill levels’ and phases of ‘the game.’ This dark portrayal draws parallels with real-life situations in the world today – drink and drug abuse leading to domestic violence; the loss of control leaving to suicide.
‘Letter To A Critic’ sees Solareye getting a few things off his chest with regard to how he sees others viewing STANLEY ODD, while the desolate imagery of ‘Sonarcotics’ tunes the listener’s mind to the horrors and loneliness of drugs and comparing and addict searching the next ‘fix’ to a record company looking for its next ‘hit.’ (I may be wrong in my interpretation, but it works for me anyway!) However, the song itself is ‘eased’ somewhat with the soulful singing of Veronika Electronika, and this is one of the reasons that STANLEY ODD rise above the plethora of other bands (hip-hop or otherwise) who use music as a means of conveying their beef with life in general.
You see, it’s not just about Solareye and his rhymes. Without the fantastic voice of Veronika to soften, but not dilute, the message STANLEY ODD would have to take their place in the queue of aspiring bands. Well, not quite……. without also the support of an absolutely tight, live band, who keep the programmed beats and effects to a minimum, then maybe they’d have to join that line.
So – back to the EP; ‘Winter Of Discontent’ makes its political comment without really adopting a preaching type of attitude. And even with a serious point to make, the band still incorporate little snippets of humour – listeners in Scotland especially will appreciate the subtle references to ‘taking it too far’ and Chewing the Fat.’
But just to prove to you that STANLEY ODD are far from ‘up themselves’ and in danger of becoming ensconced in a socio-political mire, I’ll leave you with the video of ‘The Oddyssey.’
They’re not all about flippant little issues and neither are STANLEY ODD all heavy about current affairs. They combine, they mix, they rap and they effin’ rock!
(The ‘Pure Anti Hero Material’ EP marks the first of three EPs to be released by the band in 2011. They feel that by releasing material in this way they will maintain a stronger connection with fans throughout the year as well as maintaining relevance with them. Speaking about the release of this particular EP, front-man Solareye says:
“…. At the end of the year, the three separate EPs will make one complete collection on the musings of STANLEY ODD through 2011. It also gives us an excuse to go on tour three times this year!”)
(Released through Circular Records on 21st February 2011)