Review: The Menagerie – Odd Beasts
Odd Beasts is the new feature length LP from The Menagerie! If you aren’t familiar with the weird, wonderful, Brighton born group that is The Menagerie, check out their previous releases, “Wild Kingdom” (2005) or “Irregular Spirits” (2013). As with most bands there have been a few lineup changes along the way. This particular album puts Dr Syntax and Professor Elemental on the front line rapping, with Tom Caruana on the production, Nick Maxwell on the cuts and is mastered by Flevans.
Professor Elemental and Dr Syntax both have an unorthodox approach to spitting bars. Far from an attempt to fit in the ghetto-led origins of the genre, both of them make a point of how middle class they really are (Elemental pioneers his own brand of “chap-hop” where he raps about cups of tea, whilst Syntax can take credit for tracks lamenting the lack of job prospects from his multiple arts degrees). This might all be excruciating if it wasn’t for the fact that, well, they’re really good.
From the intro track “Walking with Canes” they make a clear declaration that they’re back in the game because they have fans from all over the globe and no one can imitate their styles. Humour is an important theme throughout Odd Beasts. Whilst light hearted bars make it clear they don’t take themselves seriously – “Guys want me banned, I’m a rap turkey twizzler” they two work together in deft synergy to show that they do take their craft seriously. Combine that with the surreal, cartoonish cuts and full, jazzy beats, and you have a sound like no other. Nod your head? Odd Beasts will have you throwing both arms back and dancing like a pissed up mum at a school disco.
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