Just in time for Christmas, everyone’s favourite semi-comedic Electro Swing Hip Hop trio have given us their second EP in almost as many years: the Swinghopper’s Speakin’ Easy. Made up of Offbeat, Sharleena Ray, and Pye – all artists in their own right as well – The Swinghoppers are still a relatively new act in the electro swing world, but one would be forgiven for forgetting this – as they’ve very quickly risen to become one of the most recognisable acts on the UK circuit. Their first EP utilised a number of well-known songs from both the swing and hip hop world, which the band put their on unique spin on, and this release takes very much the same approach.
We begin with ‘Swing Swing Swing’. Now whilst those more invested in this genre may roll their eyes and yet another adaptation of this classic, it’s fair to say that the Swinghoppers have still managed to put commendable effort into their version. Pye’s rapping is noticeably improved since the first EP here, and we find many lyrics featuring the band’s signature tongue-in-cheek swagger. One lyric I was particularly intrigued by was Offbeat’s line: “old-school fans of jazz just can’t stand us”; I can’t tell is he is wishing that this weren’t the case, or proudly proclaiming his level of innovation. This type of self-referential material continues into ‘Swinguistics’, a slightly more downbeat track with more extended rapping from Pye – although I do note that we’re yet to hear any beatboxing.
‘Big Spender’ features some exceptionally strong vocals from Sharleena Ray, channeling her inner Shirley Bassey, and the rapping game is impressive here too, with some seriously driving flow coming from both Offbeat and Pye. This second half of the EP is easily the better half, and I’d be tempted to say that this might be the best of the four tracks – though it’s a very very close call between this and the EP’s finisher, ‘S Gon’ Give It To Ya’. This ending track is huge, and features great rapping from all three – with even Sharleena getting in on the action – really showcasing the talents of the group. The production is solid, and the band never fails to demonstrate their ability for humour within the lyrics – who else would ever write rhymes about the correct way to pronounce espresso?
This EP is very much what a fan would expect from The Swinghoppers. Yes, the lyrics may be a little on the nose and even cheesy at times, but the band are very self-aware, and it’s all done in quite the humourous way. Offbeat remains his usual likable self, and there is no doubt whatsoever that Pye’s rapping has greatly improved on this release. One downside is that I would have liked to have heard some more beatboxing – for a performer as incredibly talented as he is, it’s a shame for him to not showcase this to its greatest potential. Overall, Speakin’ Easy is simply a very enjoyable record. The Swinghoppers are never going to be one of the most phenomenal acts in terms of musicality, but they are definitely one of the most fun.
Free Download: “The Swinghoppers – Speakin’ Easy EP” Here
Written by Chris Swinglis Date: 2019-12-07
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