Album review: The Allergies – ‘Promised Land’: on a hot streak with huge melodies

The Breakdown

Get on the new album from Bristol hip-hop funk duo The Allergies as an antidote for the blues of the last year. Or more.
Jalapeño Records 8.6

IN THESE days, months, or years even, when everything has been dominated by viruses, or at least one in particular, there have been many earnest releases focusing on the despair, isolation and loneliness that these have caused us all.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all; after all art reflects life (or near enough anyway) as Oscar Wilde said. Bristol duo The Allergies’ new album Promised Land is an antidote (some would say a vaccination maybe) to all that, because they want to party, and they’ve dragged in plenty of friends to help them.

Let’s be honest, Rackabeat and DJ Moneyshot don’t hang around anyway, and already have a considerable canon behind them. On top of that, they bring the funk and good vibes and sprinkle it with killer tunes, so its no surprise that guests such as Dynamite MC, Lyrics Born, Marietta Smith and Ugly Duckling’s Andy Cooper don’t want to miss out on this particular party bus.

What we’re left with is a record that bursts with fun and energy and great tunes, and a heady mix of funk and hip-hop that you can’t fail to fall for. Right from the off, “Lean On You”, it’s evident. These almost highlife guitar licks run around the driving drums as Dynamite spits and flows with incredible skill.

Andy Cooper’s first contribution on the record, “Utility Man”, is similarly smart and equally brilliant, over a popping bassline and brass interjections. The driving funk of “Going To The Party” allows Lyrics Born the space to fly over the top while “Are You Ready” and “Up Down Left RIght” see both Cooper and soul siren Marietta Smith on top of their game.

It’s not just the guests that make the record, though: “New Thing” is funky gospel soul that soars and prods and spills all over this 90s acid jazz backing, while “Working On Me” sounds like something The JBs would come up with if they were still strutting their way around the world’s concert halls. Elsewhere title track “Promised Land” is an impossibly gorgeous soul stomper, while closer “You is like lovers soul, strings, congas – the works.

And that’s the strength of the record. The Bristol pair have pulled together artists not content with phoning in their contributions and a band on a hot streak, huge melodies, big arrangements and a goodtime vibe that’ll help you forget the troubles of the times.

The Allergies’ Promised Land is out now digitally, on CD and on vinyl; you can get yours direct from Bandcamp, here.

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