Sometimes it's sad to see that a band that will use swearing in their name to gain attention. Calling yourself Shitting Robots, for example, might be funny when Zane Lowe says it on Radio 1 once, but it also automatically eliminates you from Top 40 airplay as it’s deemed to offensive. It’s a shame we weren’t in charge of the chart laws – we’d include all sorts of stuff that's not currently allowed. Not that there’s anything offensive about this week's band Roys Iron DNA, but we’d have them on constant heavy rotation on the radio nonetheless.
Trip Hop hasn’t seen a great deal of high-profile mega-artists emerge from the vastly-underrated genre to capture the audience’s imagination lately. There's still the old guard of household names like Portishead, Massive Attack and DJ Shadow knocking about, with deeper followers of the genre finding the occasional scrap from Amon Tobin and Unkle to cherish.
But what exactly is Trip Hop to someone who isn’t familiar with any of the above mentioned artists? Using a combination of turntables, samples, drums and orchestral-sounding strings, a product is created that lies somewhere between downtempo, house music and hip-hop, although with this very distinct sound, the vocals really stand out more than any other genre. But that can be a problem, too.
Many Trip Hop records all have a very strong female vocal on them, which tends to make them slightly generic-sounding. But men can create similarly haunting vocal effects and, putting two and two together, you may have just clicked why we have chosen Roys Iron DNA this week. Not only have they cracked the Trip Hop formula down to a fine art, they also manage to nail the vocals.
In terms of musical development, Roys Iron DNA appear to have been going for quite some time, but have only released one limited edition 7” single, a digital download. But coming soon however is their debut album, entitled Men And Wax Jackets, the music from which is already available on MP3 for you to download. But a physical copy that you can hold, smell and lick is not available until Monday.
A small collection of songs are on Roys Iron DNA's MySpace to whet your appetite. These songs, which almost seem too perfect for the pending bleak winter months, really do seem like tracks for those odd moments of confusion when nothing really seems to be going right and everything you can do is uncontrollable.
Silent Majority which is taken from the album, starts with the twinkling of guitars before a glitchy crash of electronics bullies its way into the mix. While the lyrics are listenable, they are finely cut into the song which almost makes you have to listen that little bit harder to make out exactly what is being said. Never a bad thing. Having crystal quality vocals would only ruin this fine song.
Men In Wax Jackets starts off so calmly that when we cranked our stereo up to hear it, we nearly deafened ourselves when the steady pattern of drums came in. A soft swirling mix of synths combined with the drums almost takes to a snow-covered landscape where the sky is grey and there’s hardly anything going on at all.
From our descriptions it may not come over as the happiest and upbeat sounding music. But this is moody-sounding music that will appeal to those with a love of experimentation and finding the inner beauty in music. Just listen for yourselves.