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Music Review

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Artist: Soundspecies
RRP: £12.99
Available 13 April 2009

Soundspecies was formed by brothers Henry and Olly Keen, who were drawn to creating sounds and melodies at an early age. Fast forward a few years and various journeys through DJ culture, electronic music, Herbie Hancock's back catalogue and a slew of other talented musicians and the Soundspecies band was born...

Two more additions to this band are that of siblings Nat and Barnaby. Nat is a keen guitarist and has been from an early age, while Barnaby has been composing and playing the saxophone, percussion and ukelele in various bands.

In 2003 Henry was introduced to the infamous CDR night, run by Tony Nwachukwu and Gavin Alexander. This gave the group a valuable platform to develop their sound and forged a relationship between the group and the CDR/Burnt Progress label.

Following on from the 'Can We Call it Love' EP released in March 2009, this LP certainly doesn’t disappoint.

With 12 tracks and what would seem a bonus 13th, as it’s not listed on the album cover, there are lots of different sounds to feast your ears to.

My favourite tracks on this LP are a mix of styles. The first being ‘Journeyman’. The brass on this track is magical, jazzy and owns the track. Mixed with the percussion and electro in the background this is a quirky jazz track.

Another of my favourite tracks are ‘CDR People’ (with Foreign Beggars & 2Tall) and ‘Beautiful Not Subtle’ (with Black Spade) they have both got a funky edge, rapping vocals, good strong beats and they verge on the edge of hip hop tracks. I love the intro of ‘Beautiful Not Subtle’ as it starts with a harp and the rapping vocals of Black Spade, superb.

Both ‘Relax’ and ‘Waiting for the Sun to Come up’ have heavenly vocals from Deborah Jordan. I especially like the male vocals on ‘Waiting for the Sun to Come up’ as they compliment Jordan’s light and airy vocals it works so well when the two are put together.

‘Abdoulaye Mbengue’ begins with the clapping and sound of tribal drums. This is a raw naked track and I love it. The setback with it? It’s only 1 min, 38 secs and feels more like an interlude than a track itself. I could have listened to more of this - especially when the electronica comes into play.

The poetic lyrics found in ‘80db Window’ (with Ventriloquist) take you on a journey of …‘a group of young adventurers that slept fearlessly through an 80db window.’  It’s a different sound on this album but like everything else on it, it works.

To be honest the only track I’m not too sure about is ‘Star Wars’ as it’s quite repetitive and not to my particular taste. There are parts of this track where I wondered if you could call it music at all as there seemed to be a lot of noise which, to me sounded like sci-fi guns being firing. 

Soundspecies are dynamic and unique in their sound, which is somewhat refreshing in this genre of music. Their passion for music is conveyed through each track differently, which makes them stand out amongst other bands of the same genre.


Helena Rea

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