Straight out of Bonafide....
Born With Teeth
Out of Manchester on the ATIC label, Crowhead is the debut long player from the artist formerly known as DJ Woody, alumni of Grand Central Records-the discerning head nodders label of choice at the back end of the Nineties.
Having returned to his roots to work with fellow Grand City associate Aim, ‘Born with Teeth’ admirably captures the GC vibe of slick beats, liberal use of melody and guests from roaming US rapper.
Kicking off with an uplifting bass driven melodic vibe, that almost recalls the sun rising over the Hacienda at dawn, opening track‘ECM’ does a great job in harnessing the Manc roots of the team This record is far from a retro chill-out trip however as it soon heads straight into the clipped beats and expertly delivered rhymes of ‘The Bends’, boosted by Niko dropping his chromatic flow.
From there in its a real music lovers delight, with the instrumental ‘Until You’re Dead’ delivering an almost perfect blend of straight up beats, samples and horns of doom, treading the line carefully between the funkier end of breaks and indulgent beat nodding.
Referencing hip- hop so heavily in what is essentially a modern UK electronic album is a difficult juggling act in itself. However rather than deferring to the default ATCQ position of shuffling beats and jazz samples employed by those trying to distance themselves from the bling; Crowhead takes the road less travelled by throwing a hefty slice of genuine experimentation into the pot.
This cross genre approach is never better than penultimate track ‘Super 8 Bit Disco’, a fucked up Atari bleep disco joint that manages to cram a reference to everything radical about growing up in inner-city UK in to four and a half minutes..
Unless I’m proved very wrong (it happens) then Crowhead is never going to bother the charts, or scoop a MOBO, and maybe it’s all the better for it. Having the breathing space of being detached from scenes and scene-makers seems to have given Crowhead time to breathe. A solid album, from a solid team- catch the crow before it flies.