Album review: Karl Phillips & The Midnight Ramblers

Objectionable chav or music maestro? Either way, this MC knows his onions on this compelling Pic’N’Mix of ska, grime, nu-metal and more.

Straight outta Harrow via Brighton, Karl Phillips’ debut suggests a street poet wannabe, wrapping his lyrics up in a clutch of cool tuneage.

And along these 11 tracks he showcases an undeniable ear for melody, delving into ska, dubstep, nu-metal and grime to mash up his own sound.

Ditching bleeps and beats for traditional instruments to feather his lyrical nest, we get guitar solos and beefy bass (Liabilities) cosying up to the trumpet-laced ska of Cheers Mate and Strongbow while the MC, singer and ‘wasteman’ delivers irreverent bravado on top.

With Gatling-gun delivery, Phillips offers an affectionate lampooning of leisure park-prowling ‘plastic gangstas’ in pimped-up hatchbacks, low-level dealers and preened teen prima donnas.

Adventurous, energetic rhythms and a sense of humour keeps Phillips a step ahead.

4 stars

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