If you thought that blending the snappy rhythms of Jazz, the sonic pounds of electro and the bumps of hip hop was a bad idea, you’d be absolutely right. But there is no doubt that, A Man About A Dog deliver their own slice of this very creation, and without hesitation or repentance.
‘The beating of the drum / the bottom of the bass / pop in the snare / make us move your hands in the air’. Touching every popular lyrical cliche in the book, A Man About A Dog’s ‘Corned Beef and Valium’ punches DJ Shadow-style scratches and samples over ‘Green Onions’ mannered jazz. Despite the tracks perceptible funkiness, the tracks lack a concrete melody hook and mirrors a song fit for a wedding DJ’s playlist.
In the track, ‘Cranial Romance’, the sample of R. Lee Ermey’s ‘skull fucking’ speech, from his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, provides a tasteful dose of dubstep style to the band. Rather than continue the grime-lined, edgy pattern of electro, dubstep and hip-hop, A Man About A Dog revel in the pithy patterns of their curious hip-hop and jazz blend, as their musical orientation veers further off course.
More promisingly, ‘Raw’ hooks urban hip-hop beats and electro-jazz scales into tighter, more expressive and soulful pastures. The introduction of more prominent vocals and rap close the gap on the pop influence, and push A Man About A Dog into the same corner as Wu Tang Clan, Plan B and Cut Chemist. Even so, the sanctimony of titles such as ‘Funk’s Best Friend’ undo all of these more calculated effort, as the band continue you to stretch out the same funky, jazz-organ filled pattern.
Striving to compete in a commercial market and still exercise a creative license remains the key target for most bands nowadays. Sadly, Leeds based band A Man About A Dog fall short. More frustrating is that the band have good ideas and attitudes, but these are misused in a grossly predictably and over-produced fashion.