Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the long awaited debut album from British Jazz/Hip Hop extraordinaires, The Mouse Outfit entitled Escape Music released 20/05/13 by TMO Records. How do I describe The Mouse Outfit? Well, they play an eclectic style of Hip-Hop tinged with some extremely tight jazz musicianship from an extremely talented band that give this LP a very old-school vibe. I am extremely excited for this album as for me, they are one of the greatest musical talents to emerge in the last few years and it brings me great pleasure to be able to finally review it. Every track on this album is absolute Gold but there are some beautiful diamonds hidden in this mountain of treasure which I will unearth for you.
We kick off with the first track, ‘Every Single Time’ which features British rapper Dr Syntax. I have to say that this is a great start to the album, it kicks off the LP with a great old school vibe with some brilliant verses and flow from Dr Syntax which really channels the gritty underbelly of Manchester. Definitely not the strongest track on the album but there are still 18 more songs to go, so for all intensive purposes, this is an absolutely brilliant introduction.
The next track ‘Shak Out’ is one of the many highlights on this album. Within the first 15 seconds I can already detect a very strong influence from French Hip-Hop/Jazz band Hocus Pocus. This track introduces rapper Sparkz and he does a phenomenal job on this track. He has some really interesting time signatures in his flow and the verses are absolutely genius at times. If anything, The Mouse Outfit are really helping bring out these underground British rappers to the masses. An absolute banger of a track!
We skip ahead now to number 8 on the track list and in my opinion, the absolute highlight of this album. This is definitely the best song on the entire album, ‘Air Max’. This song features a beautifully chilled and jazzy backing beat with the best rapping I have ever heard come out of the British Isles from Black Josh. The verses are powerful and real, straight from the streets of Manchester with some very dark humour in places which really add to the character of the song. I especially love the chorus, it’s so catchy and I feel like it’s a clever metaphor about trainers and marijuana being the only things that keeps someone sane on the streets.
The closing track is titled ‘Never Get Enough’ and you couldn’t ask for a better closer. The title exactly channels how I feel, I can’t get enough of this music! It features some very interesting jazzy saxophones accented with a modern jazz beat and some great dj work. I feel like I should really mention how well produced this album is, everything is crystal clear, you can hear all of the instruments perfectly. Once again, some fantastic rapping from Dubbul O and Sparkz although this time around, I feel like they are pushed back in this mix and the instrumentals are the main focus on this track.
Overall, this is an absolutely incredible debut effort, this is going to be extremely difficult to follow up on their future releases. This LP features so many different styles, Jazz is the most prominent along with Hip-Hop but also features Dubstep elements, funk, soul and reggae. Black Josh and Sparkz are the highlight rappers on the album, that’s not to say that the others are bad at all, but the sheer talent of these two really stood out among the rest. I’m feeling a very strong 9/10 for this album, not quite a perfect score as it’s not the most original but that’s extremely difficult in this day and age where there is much music but I will say they have used their influences very well. Also some the tracks feel very filler compared to the rest and the title track is a little bit dissapointing but it’s honestly one you should not skip because it’s part of a much bigger image, if anything this album is extremely cohesive.
Definetely check this album out below on SoundCloud, it is worth every minute of your time. If you enjoy it then grab yourself a copy by clicking here.
We Ain’t Going Nowhere
Got Me Thinking
Blaze It Up
Children of The Stars
Built In A Day
Never Get Enough