The Kumpanee / The Kumpanee Ball

This is the bomb! I laughed right out loud! It took me right back to the early concept hip hop of De La Soul and Cypress Hill. Loosely based some surreal dream, the ‘Ball’ is madcap compilation of well crafted rhymes peppered with some delicious Bro-fonk harmonies, jazzy rhythms and phatter- than- full- cream beats. There’s some stunners like “That Girl”, which blatantly steals lines from Steve Miller’s “Fly like and Eagle” and and bounces higher than a red rubber ball on asphalt. Weaving between songs the short dialogue sequences could’ve be lifted from Waiti’s “Boy”. But these three lads are no ‘eggs’. The band’s name is a reference to the Maori Battalion ( ‘C’ Company) – A fitting tribute to that legacy of waiata and camaraderie. And it’s clear these guys are having fun. Title track “Kumpanee Ball” is upbeat and funny, whilst “Liar” is a blatant dig at Eminem and a doff caps to Kingston Dancehall, simultaneously. “Cookie Jar” reworks the line “who stole the Cookie from …” and will get under your skin in the first minute in. Then there’s “No one Special” which reworks Randy Newman’s best Disney tunes. Who’d a figured that’d work? Every time I listen I hear something new – a sure sign that this is more than another tedious hip hop album. Keeping the content fresh, they reference all their heroes but never stoop to repetitive whines, jingles or annoying polygamist gansta rap. Chur Bros!

Published in NZ Musician March 2011

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