Release Date: Oct 16, 2012
Record label: Department H
Noir films and their soundtracks didn't exist at the same time as funk music, and both pre-dated hip-hop, but blending them all into a natural-sounding mix is where the Herbaliser's Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba got their start, soul-jazzing up the trip-hop movement and helping define the Ninja Tune label's sound, all in the mid-90s. By 2005's Take London they had evolved from studio wizards into an organic band with horns and guitars wacka-wacka-ing their way into jam band territory with style, but by 2008's Same as It Never Was the whole plot had gone Zero 7, leaving production heads and loyal fans the only ones really “feeling it. ” With a live band back, and playing beats that are Humphrey Bogart hanging out with the Roots, There Were Seven (as this is the seventh Herbaliser album) gloriously splits the difference for an impossible neo-noir, boogie-downtown production that captures the feel of heartbreak in the most tasteful of loft spaces (vocalist Hannah Clive burns the house of love down with her torch singing on the Thievery Corp.
While those jewel-encrusted major label thugs are out there chasing down the next Auto-Tune gimmick, London, UK's infamous Herbaliser take it back to where it all began. There Were Seven remembers a time when samples were dug from crates, not factory libraries, when beats went boom-bap and when MCs made their name on ability and substance, rather than mere style and controversy. This album is no frozen time capsule though.
Repeated listens of this finely realised album are an enjoyable must. Ian Roullier 2012 More than 17 years after The Herbaliser’s debut long player, Remedies, was unleashed, Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba return with their seventh (the clue’s in the title) studio album. Having been lumped into the same, rather vague, "trip hop" ragbag along with Massive Attack, Portishead, Morcheeba, and DJs Shadow and Krush in the mid-90s, The Herbaliser have endured by building upon their original sample-based sound and producing several albums of gilt-edged, funk-driven hip hop.