REVIEW: Strangelove – EP2

Poignantly poetic, and sometimes political raps flow over
undulating electronic psychedelia to create something entirely… strange.

By David Weir

Released last month, this is a (fairly) new one from London’s finest purveyors of abstract word jazz weirdness. Strangelove’s EP 2 is a madcap ramble through the psyche of 3 super talented MCs.

When Freedom, Chango and Jakaboski rein in their avant-garde electronic experimentation a little, this EP bubbles tantalisingly under the surface like a shook up tinny. Poignantly poetic, and sometimes political, raps flow over undulating electronic psychedelia to create something entirely… strange.

The only guest is UK rap scene stalwart Bellatrix, who does her best Joanna Newsom impression on Joni, accompanied by Jakaboski & Chango dropping that laid back fire. ‘In a paper kayak on a silver lake of dreams, with several Selma Hayek’s laden with trees’, Jakaboski drawls laconically – twisted psychedelic imagery that typifies the absurdism of the entire album.

Trippy is the name of the game, with the bitingly clever social commentary of Chasing Rabbits (‘Cartels taking innocent lives, says Mike, cutting lines on the mirror for five’) fading out of its pulsating electronic bounce into a messy 2-minute ambient dronefest. Complete with hellish screaming and low-frequency rumbles, it kind of jars with the rest of the track. Likewise with Chango’s whispered and pitch-shifted vocals on the third track, Duality.

Overall, this is an alternative hip hop EP par excellence – in parts. In terms of absurdist imagery, literary references and poetic dexterity the Strangelove boys rank among the best MCs in the country. But, whilst you can see where they’re coming from with the weirdness, it often jars with the more melodic musical sensibilities of the rest of the album.

A captivating listen indeed – but a very strange one at that.

You can buy the EP here as a digital collection or as a cassette.


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