Stanley Odd (3 stars)

Stanley Odd

Photo: Tim Burke

Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Mon 22 Mar 2010

As you might surmise from the name, Stanley Odd are quite separate fishes from the UK hip hop shoal currently gliding their way to mainstream chart positions these days. They can hardly be accused of jumping on the grimewagon led by the likes of Tinie Tempah, instead offering up a bold blend of old school stateside beats and the unorthodox Airdrie flow of frontman Solareye (aka Dave Hook).

Tonight, we should be celebrating the launch of their second single, ‘Think of a Number’, but twenty seconds in, Solareye’s enthusiastic demand for the crowd to 'put your hands up' and bounce like we’re on the set of 8 Mile slightly misjudges the majority of a predominantly sweater and shirt-clad audience.

The set markedly improves with time. Highlights come in the form of ‘Sundance’, a melancholy and utterly believable ballad about a doomed prostitute, and the excellent ‘Electric Sleep’, replete with energetic Morello guitar licks and cosmic synth patterns from keyboardist, T-Lo.

In a genre largely driven by authenticity and personality, downbeat songs like these do most justice to Solareye’s redoubtable talents. His gritty, sincere vernacular is at its most compelling when he has a little more time to (word)play with; they’re really not far from the polished article, so hopefully a little time is all Stanley Odd need.

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