Conceived at a South London squat party in the summer of 2008 and born from a background of alternative hip-hop, jazz, breakbeat and classical literature; Sound Of Rum are now set to release their debut album 'Balance' on Rob da Bank's label, Sunday Best Recordings. Forged from the combined talents of vocalist Kate Tempest, guitarist Archie Marsh and drummer Ferry Lawrenson; Sound of Rum's music is as uniquely diverse as it is relevant and entertaining. From their humble beginnings less than 3 years ago, the band's notoriety has progressed at an exponential rate.
Kate Tempest started writing poetry at around the same age as most people start writing their own name. By the time she was 15 she had composed material she felt was worthy of being heard. Plunging deep into the mainly male orientated world of hip-hop rap battling, Tempest quickly earned a reputation as someone who needed to be listened to. Similarly Archie Marsh & Ferry Lawrenson have both devoted their lives to the mastery of their craft. The combination of these three talented individuals has culminated in a sound that compels audiences to reevaluate their understanding of what good music is. Set for release on 25th April 2011, Sound of Rum's debut album Balance will undoubtedly carve a place in the hearts and minds of any and all who are fortunate enough to experience it.
Spending time between 2 studios, they have been backed by an all-star team consisting of Dan Carey (La Roux, CSS, Hot Chip), John Dent (Nick Drake, Bob Marley, PJ Harvey), Bob Earland (Roots Manuva, Mr Scruff, Speech Debelle) and Rory Attwell (White Rose Movement, Male Bonding, Sleeping States). "I'll be me and you be you" speaks Tempest as the early moments of Rumba unfold into the upbeat opening track. Here Sound of Rum demonstrate how to engage a listener on multiple levels. Be it through verse and lyrics that fuse philosophy and hip-hop with what seems like effortless grace, or through warm head-nodding production that relaxes and excites the body in equal measures. Following this, Ed Would Be is a witty criticism of the popularly misconceived and sometimes arrogant keep-it-real attitude prolific in urban culture. Pushed along by an empowered bass-heavy kaleidoscope of rhythm the message is clearly stated; "it's all about the substance and not about the image." Sound of Rum deliver the perfectly captivating union of music and poetry with Slow Slow. The forthcoming debut single plays through complex synth echoes and skanking bass-lines, transforming through funk derived melodies and crushing drumbeats punctuated by Kate's ability to breath power into words. Breakthrough is a deeply personal, dub-infested message of regret directed towards a former lover. The final moments collapse into an arresting melee of feelings and rhythmic disorientation that dissolve into the opening chords of Icarus. As many no doubt know this story serves as an age-old warning for those that might risk too much in the pursuit of their dreams. Sound of Rum skillfully manipulate this message into one of aspiration and hope with a beautifully alternative perspective on the myth's final outcome. Balance, the albums title track, uses parable to confront the fact that no matter how advanced we think we've become, the universal truth is that we're exactly the same as we've always been. Following this, the album once again picks up speed with Give. This track appears to be a fire-driven rap torrent inspired by a reckless lifestyle. Closer inspection however reveals a passionately honest love song dedicated to unrequited feelings and rejection. For many people Concrete Pigeon, will be the real hidden gem of this album, featuring the albums only collaboration with poet and friend PolarBear. Stemming from an idea based in quantum mechanics the two voices overlap and intermingle creating a world of sliding doors where every possibility becomes a new reality. This track is underpinned by a dynamic crescendo of production that will literally leave you breathless. Best Intentions serves as the other side of the coin to Breakthrough. Again dedicated to an ex-lover, but this time spoken with an apologetic tone with striking, heartbreaking honesty. So Low finds Tempest in a reflective mood, "I try and take slow breaths coz these nights I'm getting so wrecked that I'm destroying what I'm supposed to be employing." The penultimate track End Times is a song exploring the workaday politics of personal relationships and modern life that swims in a feeling of hope against adversity. The album's climactic conclusion Prometheus begins quietly before sharply turning into a burst of bassline, injecting a huge dose of energy and leaving an indelible mark on the listener that resonates long after the track has finished. Tempest's words explore personal politics whilst challenging the listeners to look inside themselves to find the answers to problems faced in the outside world. But it is the production that sets this track apart from other songs on the album - between them Archie and Ferry create a backdrop of almost operatic proportions. It builds through endless riptides of musicality before bursting into waves of bass and percussion that may leave audiences suffering whiplash. Overall this album serves as a body of work that is poignant and uplifting, intelligent alternative hip hop from a fresh new perspective. It's little wonder that they have such a loyal following.