London based ‘Mustard Tiger’ is the latest iteration of the combined forces of Archetype, Mnsr Frites and Luca Brazi. You may already be familiar with these artists due to their previous work under the different guises of Granville Sessions and Moose Funk Squad respectively, two outfits that have put out a slew of releases over the past decade (not including the solo offerings the members have also crafted). ‘Botchulism’ (not Botulism, a satiric mispelling) is the debut release under the new semblance, it features production entirely from Luca Brazi and is out on his own imprint label Broke Records. The title of the album is based on an in-joke, referring to the project taking more than 10 years to organise after having started making music together. ‘Mustard Tiger’ comes from an episode of Trailer Park Boys and is defined as “someone who enjoys eating and that is fat and lazy”, a scene from the mockumentary also acts as the intro for the album. However, despite the self-deprecating humour attributed to this, Botchulism is actually an album about patience, practice, desire and achievement. The perseverance needed to learn from mistakes and make it right eventually, to trust the journey, dedicate time to your craft, create your own lane and to always ‘Stay Mustard’.
Surprisingly this is the first full-length release from the trio, even though they have written and performed nationally together for over a decade. The overdue LP is a soulfully steeped, breezily delivered dose of solid wordplay, draped over seamless soundscapes, showcasing the effortless chemistry the artists have honed during their time as touring band members. As well as inventive beats and bars, there are a few interesting pop culture references thrown in for good measure, including Desmond’s (a Channel 4 situation comedy), where the show’s namesake mentions the Hip Hop culture as “breakdancing and graffiti art“, to which one of his patrons (‘Matthew’ for those who watched the show) reponds with “I call it ‘can’t dance’ and ‘vandalism'”. The IT Crowd, Trailer Park Boys and The Outsiders (among others) also feature, with ‘Stay Mustard’ being a direct parody of ‘Stay Gold’ the untimely last words of Pony Boy taken from S. E. Hinton’s short story of the same name (this was also a blockbuster movie featuring The Brat Pack), some interesting choices here. It’s also worth mentioning that there is some fantastic looking artwork by Henry St. Leger adorning the cover.
“an album about patience, practice, desire and achievement. The perseverance needed to learn from mistakes and make it right eventually, to trust the journey, dedicate time to your craft and create your own lane”
The actual recording of the project was carried out by Zatoichi’s Ears at Gold On The Mixer and Mnsr Frites at Ikejiri Castles (Japan), so it was definitely an interational affair. These respective artists can obviously shine with some brilliance individually but how did they fare when it came to a collaborative effort.. we had a listen.
The album opens with ‘Early Mourn’, some stripped down drums kick around well polished verses that switch to double-time, flute samples and bass in tow, a nice way to start things off. One of the standouts, ‘Over The Hill’ includes some haunting soulful voice synths (which seem to feature prominently throughout) bleeding into warm bass builds, some great cuts are layered on top of the beatwork courtesy of a hungry DJ Sugai (he handles all of the cut/chop work on the project), also this track gets extra points for rhyming ‘Pterodactyl’ in a sentence. This leads into the humorously titled only skit ‘Shish Keflab’ which continues the uplifting vibe into the first single ‘Gravy’, featuring vocal soulful goodness from Tiece, a refreshingly different track with a golden era RnB feel plonked right in the middle. The reminiscent ‘Right 4 Wrong’ is presented on soft piano chords and allows the team to dwell over past moments, nicely delivered verses with a great hook. ‘Stay Mustard’ starts to wrap things up with a more punchy approach, harder drums and solid bars set at pace, complimented with a Blade sample. In their own words, there is a smorgasbord of tracks to choose from, too many to mention but you don’t want to skip any of these from the overall symphony, great stuff.
“Those are my thoughts exactly, I take the pint and the pasty, nah i aint been a has-been, i’m great like the gatsby”
In any of their iterations these guys have always been consistent with beats, bars and beers, dropping funny punch lines and are good structurally. It’s always been a good time and this release is no different, definitely a more soulful outing with an overall chilled out feel but the solid lyricism will remind you to not sleep on any of this. The album is for anyone who loves soulful Hip Hop with an edge, inventive wordplay and stylistic sample based production, these are the ingredients that formulate the beast that is Mustard Tiger.
‘Botchulism’ is out now on all digital channels and a limited vinyl run will be available soon, make sure you grab a copy.
As always these are just my opinons but what did you think of the debut from Mustard Tiger, Tweet me your thoughts and recommendations.
Words by Theo Specone