The Rebel Yell - Love and War
Having carved out a significant role for himself as producer/writing powerhouse for acts like Erykah Badu, Common, Talib Kweli and Queen Latifah, The Rebel Yell sees James Poyser step out from behind the console to mount a serious assault on the affections of those with a penchant for slightly off-kilter, Daisy Age r'n'b. Teaming up with Khari Ferrari Mateen and vocalist SupaStar, Love and War's obvious connections are to the likes of Outkast and Gnarls Barkley but also to PM Dawn, the much-maligned Spandau-sampling outfit who melded De La Soul's trippy philosophy with a serious Beatles fixation to produce several memorable hits in the early 1990s.
Opener 'Army of Misfits' is the most Gnarly track here and sets out the slightly jaded worldview ("I don't worship your economic false idolatry") that's echoed across many of the tracks. 'Wanted!' uses some nice mellotron, while the darker 'Life ...' sits atop a John Frusciante-style guitar riff. There are also hints of the Purple Pixie himself on tracks like the throbbing 'Denial' as Poyser and SupaStar go toe-to-toe, a formula repeated on 'Everybody's Doing It', battering along on funky-drummer beats, elbowing its way into Black Eyed Peas territory.
Very much the creation of someone who's spent a lot of time on the other side of the control room glass, the busyness of the occasional track threatens to overwhelm things a little, but this is otherwise a dependable and worthy purchase for anyone already a fan of the genre.