'Irish hip-hop' is a genre of music that most people would shy away from, but Dublin duo Messiah J and the Expert are sure to silence naysayers with their latest offering 'From the Word Go'.
The third album from the rapper and producer team, this is an assured and catchy release. They do the genre-bending thing effortlessly, borrowing from multiple musical genres without it sounding like an assault on the senses.
The tracks have indie guitar riffs, soulful grooves, dashings of electronica and also heavily draw on strings and horns. Despite all these influences, the songs have an uncluttered feel.
The album opens with a bang with 'Year of the Genie', a brass led track that grabs your attention. First single 'Megaphone Man' is next up, a dirty funk song with crackly bass line, dulcet R&B vocal loop and horn section.
'Turn the Magic On' featuring Leda Egri features an irresistible melody and a chirpy brass section. 'Amnesia Comes Easily', the collaboration with female vocalist Joanne Daly, is a triumph with its smooth, soulful feel and laidback reggae backing track.
Kieran and Ro of the Delorentos provide vocals to the chorus of 'Geography', a fast paced mixture of beats, synths and samples.
'Tomorrow is too Late sometimes comes over a bit Linkin Park-esque with the style of rapping and guitars, but it manages to avoid going totally down that path with the addition of other instrumentation.
Having diversified their musical sound, J’s lyrics have broadened too, covering topics from domestic violence to political apathy and Ireland’s drinking problem. Despite the at times heavy topics at hand, the album overall has an uplifting effect as it is mostly fast-paced and melodic.
Messiah J and the Expect should expect -and deserve - to win themselves many more fans with this eclectic and assured release.