The Herbaliser Same As It Never Was

Now well into their second decade of solid releases, it’s safe to say that hip-hop/funk troupe the Herbaliser are as strong as ever, as the band march tall behind the mighty wall of horns that ring in the chunky, funky sound of their latest set, Same As It Never Was. That funk flies thick from the get go, with upstart London songstress Jessica Darling devouring the dirty guitar and bass riffs of "On Your Knees” before returning later with some gritty, Dap Kings-styled soul on "You’re Not All That.” Jean Grae reunites with the Herbz for the sinister "Street Karma,” while Canadian MC More Or Les works out his double-time flow over a tune reminiscent of old car chase music. Things take a cinematic turn for closer "Stranded On Earth,” a moody slow-builder of flutes, string plucks and echoed cymbals that swells into a triumphant rhythmic groove, showing just how far the group have come through the years. (!K7)