Follow Us on Twitter

Sound of Rum - Balance

Sound of Rum, Balance

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1.5 out of 5

CONCEIVED at a south London squat party in the summer of 2008 and born from a background of alternative hip-hop, jazz, break-beat and classical literature, Sound of Rum’s music isn’t easy to pin down… or like!

It’s rap-based but encompassing of many genres, none of which boast much crossover appeal. Lyrically, it’s hard-hitting – painting an often bleak picture of modern life – but it also struggles to resonate.

It’s a shame given the band’s journey to this point, which does sound incredible and a testament to their perseverance.

From their humble beginnings less than three years ago, Sound of Rum’s notoriety has progressed at a brisk pace. Kate Tempest plunged deep into the mainly male orientated world of hip-hop rap battling, quickly earning a fierce reputation for her flow and its no-nonsense style.

Similarly, Archie Marsh and Ferry Lawrenson have both devoted their lives to the mastery of their craft.

And they have been backed by an all-star team of producers, consisting of Dan Carey (La Roux, Hot Chip), John Dent (Nick Drake, PJ Harvey), Bob Earland (Roots Manuva, Mr Scruff) and Rory Attwell (White Rose Movement).

The result, while certainly delivering their brand of hip-hop from a fresh perspective, struggles to engage in spite of some nice production values.

Tempest’s vocals sound very urban and while definitely authentic in terms of what they have to say with a sense of authority, they don’t always sit comfortably alongside the production values.

Rumba, for instance, boasts instrumentals that are more Bonobo-esque than hip-hop, but they’re at odds with Tempest’s flow, while the funky shuffle and slick beats of Breakthrough suffer from the same problem.

Even when the instrumentals are stripped right down, as in the first three minutes of Prometheus, Tempest remains a difficult character to warm to. While her lyrics tend to drag you down.

So, while we admire elements of the story behind Sound of Rum, their music wasn’t for us.

Track listing:

  1. Rumba
  2. Ed Would Be
  3. Slow Slow
  4. Breakthrough
  5. Icarus
  6. Balance [Interlude]
  7. Give
  8. Concrete Pigeon
  9. Best Intentions
  10. So Low
  11. End Times
  12. Prometheus