By Haggis Horns
Haggis Horns is a name that for a couple of years I'd heard whispered by my very coolest friends in Leeds. Bearing in mind most of these people are jazz students at Leeds College of Music, I expected them to be a jazz act of some sort, and having lived with a jazz student in my first two years at college, I have already had enough jazz for a lifetime. But, as the name became uttered more often I decided it was time to check out these Scots.
I'm actually quite ashamed to have let such a band go by under my nose for so long. The debut album 'Hot Damn!' is a collection of singles spread out over several years, and is a rather eclectic mix: there's some solid aggressive dancefloor funk, some slow groove funk, even some afrobeat and reggae, all with a big fat 'Haggis Horns' stamp, that once heard is unmistakable. In some tracks the strings even give it an old disco vibe - simply brilliant! I like this album to go too much into the specifics, so here's my track by track guide to the sound:
1. Opening track 'Enter the Haggis' sounds like the time Starsky and Hutch teamed up with James Bond on a case.
2. 'Pipe Bag' sounds like what Mr Scruff listens to when he's getting ready to go out: brushing his teeth and so on.
3. 'Hot Damn' sounds like Breakestra having a jam with Tower of Power.
4. 'The Traveller' sounds like the band have come back from a Brazilian holiday.
5. 'The Traveller part 2' sounds like the band reminiscing about some late night boogying on said holiday.
6. 'Eskimo' sounds The Specials caught up in a funky nightmare.
7. 'Huffalump' sounds like a bad trip down groovy lane.
8. 'The Bump' sound like they borrowed the James Taylor Quartet to do this one for them.
9. 'Got To Lose Your Way' sounds like a particularly soulful blind man explained to the band how to write pop songs.
10. 'Tribe Vibes' sounds like someone covered the band in itching powder and they just can't... stop... moving.
11. 'Naughty Budda' sounds like he's going to get a smacked bottom with some particularly smacking electric guitar.
12. 'Who's Gonna Take the Weight' sounds like a big juicy talent competition on cloud nine, where each of the band Duke it out to earn the lofty title of best of the best.
So there you have it, my track by track guide to what this album sounds like. It's a bloody great and near faultless album. But just so you don't think the band paid me for this review I'll point out one slight criticism. I would have loved to have seen some more collaborations, American contemporaries Breakestra have carved a bit of a niche by inviting Jurrasic 5 and other Hip Hop artists to join them on albums, and some of that here would be simply unstoppable.