This Brighton based pair bring us an album that presents a mix of beats, rhymes and strings. There is a combination of genres and styles that for a listener who may be used to one style on an album may sound slightly confusing. However, a little confusion is never a bad thing. It simply means it takes a few more listens to fully get it.
The opening track ‘Don’t Come Walking’ is an ideal introduction to the kind of level Raw Tactics operate on. The merging of broken beats, lilting strings and the sublime vocals courtesy of Kagey depicts the mix that the album has to offer. Kagey’s vocals on the Street Justice Mixtape are one of the most endearing and recognisable aspects of the album. Her laid-back neo-jazz style is an ideal match for the tracks that she sings over. The layered harmonies on tracks featuring her talents give the vocals, a bittersweet, almost innocent tint. The subsequent track ‘Captain Cavity’ takes the album to the grime scene. Twinkling pianos juxtaposed with raw lyrics sets the tone of quite a few of the tracks here. The hip-hop gets darker in tracks such as ‘Satanic Verses’ and ‘Grinding’. They feature gloomier samples and tackle more serious subjects with sterner lyrics from Dialekt and Lenzez respectively.
‘Got the Goods’, one of my favourites on the album, provides sweeping strings with a simple piano melody. This is put together with socially aware lyrics sung by Kagey, which have been finely harmonised and layered. Wordsmith makes a welcome appearance on the jaunty ‘Mickey Mouse’, in which he is joined by Merksie to add smooth rhymes to a looped piano and a slick beat. Final and title track ‘Street Justice’ uses a clever sample from Training Day, with a haunting sample in the background. This soon runs into a sparse dubstep bassline which winds the album down, until the listen is left with one final word from the brilliant Kagey.
This album shows that sampling and originality doesn’t always have to be too complex. The beauty of the concept is that you can merge different beats, sounds and emotions into one track, and this is what Raw Tactics have created here. I am looking forward to hearing how they evolve on the new album, and suggest that you go and see them live when this local duo next push the limits of a Brighton venue’s bass capacity.