Written by Joe Langham (@JoeLang92)
When it comes to live band backed hip-hop groups America has The Roots and France has Hocus Pocus and pretty soon England could have their very own. The Mouse Outfit are a 9 piece live band hailing from Manchester and have now released their debut album: Escape Music. Their debut album seems somewhat overdue however since The Mouse Outfit have been touring for several years. It was well worth the wait though. Escape Music features Dr Syntax and Sparkz as well as a selection of other highly talented rappers including Lyricalligraphy, Truthos Mufasa and Kosyne to name but a few.
Escape Music grips you from the first minute and holds your interest until the very last, mainly because there is so much in the album. It consists of 19 tracks of hip-hop flavoured with jazz, soul, funk and reggae. The variety is not just limited to the beats either as a plethora of rappers and track tempos all mix together in a recipe of excellence. Escape Music is like a musical rollercoaster. As soon as you start relaxing to the first few tracks a more upbeat track comes on to grab your attention and this pattern continues throughout the album.
Critics have already praised the track ‘Shak Out’ featuring Sparkz but there is so much more too look forward to. Know My Face featuring Black Josh and Lyricalligraphy is a lyrical treat and their smooth flows complement the beat nicely. Sit Back featuring Truthos Mafia is a soulful sounding track with a pleasantly simple hook that sticks in the mind. Sit Back is one of those tracks you can just sit back (just as the name suggests) and keep playing again and again. The lyrical talent and the instrumental talent leave you conflicted at times whether to concentrate more on the rappers and their bars or the beat as both are equally enjoyable and of such a high quality. It would be nice to have some of the instrumentals to download alongside the album.
Hip-Hop veteran Dr Syntax features heavily on the album and excels himself. Some of the tracks he features on have become personal favourites already. His cool flow and soothing voice just ease you through many of his tracks. Additionally, his bars are expectedly great and go really well with every beat he works on. The other main artist on the album Sparkz is equally as good and some of his tracks even better then ones which Dr Syntax features on, namely Got Me Thinkin’ and Shak Out.
Escape Music is definitely one you can give multiple plays without it losing its enjoyment. It does exactly what it says on the case: gives you music to escape to. It is difficult to find a bad track on this album. Kickstart, which uses a dubstep beat, is not an entirely bad track but rather a bit of an oddity and does not really fit with the rest of the album but the rest of the tracks make you quickly forget about this strange inclusion. In fact the only big problem is that we only hear Truthos Mufasa and Lyricalligraphy once on the whole album. It would have been nice to hear at least one more feature from them somewhere.
If you want to catch The Mouse Outfit live they will be appearing at a number of festivals this year including Boomtown Fair and Boom Bap Festival. Escape Music will be available digitally from 20th May with hard copies becoming available in the near future.
For more information on The Mouse Outfit and to find out if they will be playing somewhere near you follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/themouseoutfit or check out their website www.themouseoutfit.com