The Mouse Outfit – Escape Music

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The Mouse Outfit was voted as Wordplay Magazine’s 2012 Best New comers and this has been firmly justified with their debut album ‘Escape Music’.  TMO are a live band, 9 members deep, with a very able roster of emcees that feature on this standout album. For the record we have Dr Syntax, Sparkz, Dubbul_O, Truthos Muthos, Kosine providing the lyricism.   TMO were not resting on their laurels since last year’s onslaught of dope tracks.  This album has great sequencing, no need to skip tracks, however rewind is more than likely to be used.

It kicks off with Dr Syntax with ‘Every Single Time’ an instant head nodder.  Simple but effective production coupled with Syntax’s laid-back delivery doing his best to “easing hunger pains in the booth”.

It eases nicely into ‘Shak Out’ with Jazzy bass line and keyboards with featured emcee Sparkz.  He adds a sound system chatting edge that totally works.  Sparkz gives us a slice of what he offers with his swift delivery style  “nuttin gwan test me told ya bwoy deh…”.  Essentially it’s a hold ya corner moment for some!

‘Sit Back‘ features Truthos Mufas who emcees with very full bars of intricate lyrics on this one whilst a sung chorus urges all to spark up a zoot and who are we to argue? This track should be the anthem for next years 420 legalize it rallies.

‘Escape Music’ has a triple threat Sytax, Sparkz Kosine give the lowdown on exactly how to dismiss the bullshit life can send your way “turn it up shut the world out…when life’s like a maze tryna find my way through it waitin’ for a brighter day loomin, tryna stay human…”  There’s much to absorb so keep your ears primed.

‘Who Gwan test’ ska horns, dub b-lines gives this tune pure vibes as it bubbles along I couldn’t help but be drawn into the good mood vibes that allowed me to have a little dance around my yard without feeling silly.   When Sparkz and Dubbul_O spit the line

“who gwan test…” it’s a casual warning to lesser  emcees and it’s done in such a cool laid back manner this wouldn’t turn into a fight in the dance as indeed it is “music to get yer moving”.  This is like many others on this release a feel good tune.

‘Got Me Thinking’ is kinda hypnotic with a ooohing sound that makes me think of old skool 1960s Star Trek sound weaving in and out as Sparkz shows his love of words with his “core rhyme scheme”.  This is another slice of real Hip Hop.

‘Air Max’ is Black Josh’s ode to old skool Air Max Nikes in the days when buying a pair of trainers wasn’t the equivalent of a house mortgage payment.  The mournful miles Davis-esque trumpet matches Black Josh’s reminiscing over trainers gone by.  As he says a pair of Air Max 1 plus a bag of zoot material  “keeps my cipher complete”.  I don’t even like trainers but I love this track!

‘Stay With Me’ is Syntax’s fair indictment warts and all on love gone wrong and how and when to right it.  He’s got a tough problem to solve as he reveals “it’s like I promised her the thrill of her life and all she got is the nightbus to Croyden!”  I don’t know how Syntax got out of that one! Did the girl stick around or not? I demand an update!

Next track ‘Blaze It Up’ is perfect for those of the green persuasion and for sure Sparkz comes under that very pleasant hue.   You can hear the joy and understand that this is a case of lifestyle when blazing doesn’t have to mean inactivity but inhaling and staying focused.  The production is full of little sounds that will have the blazing ones possibly wondering if they are mashed or is it the track!

‘Over the Rocks’ brings the word shimmer to mind and Syntax has his style of letting his mind lead the way as he says “never over the top” a line that can cover much on this album which is after all a bullshit free zone.

‘Children Of The Stars’ has the apt words “we put a spell on you through lyricism, we twist decibels of alchemy and mysticism, we getting ahead and getting fed up of the television, manipulate mindstate, forget the terrorism…”  Sparkz & Dubbul_o slay this track over vibraphone jazz sounds that belie the lyrical content. This is one of my favorite tracks and it uses one of my favorite words Alchemy!

I have to mention Fox who brings a nice touch to proceedings with his contagious reggae vocal to dubstep tinged track ‘Kickstart’ and seamlessly he makes it work on the bouncing jazz of penultimate track ‘Built In A Day’.   I’ll keep my eye open for future work from him.

Escape Music as an album title perfectly sums up this album.  Each of the 19 tunes showcase the vibes from straight up Hip Hop mingling with Jazz, Ska and dub. I think an overwhelming key to this album is that you feel a sense that this is how this crew is living.  This aspect coincides nicely with the The Mouse Outfits production skills.  It can’t be denied that the Outfit and all the featured emcees love Hip Hop, it may seem to be an unnecessary observation but not every man or women who spit bars or get behind the boards love the culture.  Real heads can tell what’s what and The Mouse Outfit and all the featured artists pass the test.

So in the words of a kids show of yesteryear ‘Why Don’t You just switch of the TV and do something less boring instead?!”  Grab a copy of ‘Escape Music’ and lose yourself in an entire album of good music.

Escape Music is released 20th May


TMO treat you to a free track remix of Who Gwan Test

Delphina Scott @rawbluecheese