Cops Hate Our Love
production: toah dynamic
year of release: 2002
Despite the presence of the UK's premier hip hop surrealist Kid Acne and a predisposition towards some of the same technological tools, this is not what most people would consider a hip hop album. It is however an intriguing and at times completely mind-shafting record. I confess that on first listen I couldn't understand what the cruel bastards were trying to do to my ears. Unwieldy beats bumped clumsily into scratchy guitars which then ganged up on scarily unhinged vocals and I was caught cowering in the middle like Cringer, the craven alter ego of He-Man's Battlecat. I wasn't prepared. I wasn't equipped. It was a fucking miserable rainy day and I was listening on my Discman to what sounded like a kindergarten apocalypse. Help. Me. Please.

1. Rave Radio
2. Billy Jean Kick Out
3. Don't Look Down
4. This Is An Acid Trip
5. Lions Tigers And Bears
6. Mac And Murdock Memorial
7. Drug Songs For The Irish
8. Get Some Exercise
9. Into Swimming
10. Ghosts In Petrol
11. This Is Fire And Ice
12. Pentecostal Quids In
Later on, in the safety and warmth of my flat, I sat down and allowed the Dynamic's racket to swirl out of the speakers and make itself at home. And it all fell into place. Or at least it fell out all over the place. My initial mistake was clear; I had attempted to experience the 'real' world at the same time as Toah Dynamic's punctured bouncy castle soundscape, and thus experienced an irreconcilable dimensional divergence. It still sounded mental, but I was able to completely focus without having to simultaneously deal with walking in a straight line, crossing the street, keeping my clothes on, etc. And - hey - I liked it! There are obvious precedents to the Tao of Toah - Captain Beefheart, The Fall, early Happy Mondays, The Beta Band - but none of those ever looped the first couple of bars of "Don't Stand So Close To Me" and twisted it into a folk-dub-acid masterpiece ("Pentecostal Quids In") which I hope Sting HATES because he's a monumental arsehole and that would make me like the tune even more. Special mention also for the band's Wu-like adoption of secret identities (Kid Acne and Supreme Vagabond Craftsman are joined by Chips For The Poor, More Mummy, Sixty-Four Cousins, Be My Twin and Earl Shilton), which is something more bands should do if you ask me. We need more superheroes! Now more than ever. Me, I'm lobbying for a weekly cartoon.
So, thank you Toah Dynamic! Thank you Invisible Spies! What we have here is an inventive, very British record which doesn't give a fuck about following trends or fitting into some bullshit style-mag definition of 'cool'. Which of course means that it's cool as fuck and great for any occasion, whether it's bedding the missus (early night, love?), initiating someone into your questionable secret society or getting the kiddies off to sleep. Magic(k).
review: joe stannard (
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