Stoke-on-Trent is one of the armpits of the UK, but it was there in 2003 whilst at university I came across Hint and an album called Portakabin Fever. To this day I can't remember how I happened upon it, but from my first listen I was hooked. It is testimony to this album that despite the horrific city and squat like conditions I was living in at the time, that it only reminds me of long, lazy sunny days doing anything other than going to my lectures. Simply, it is one of my favourite albums of all time.
Portakabin Fever is a beautiful piece of downtempo electronica. Yet no one can accuse Hint of trying to remake his debut. Right off the bat Daily Intake comes at you with beats and bass on Crash & Burn. Natalie Storm adding a dancehall slant on the vocals and it immediately puts me in mind of Toddla T in full on Rice & Peas mode. This is a sound I've been absolutely loving over the last few years. It's a great album opener and I understand that it is due to be the first single from the album.
Hint has bought in some tasty vocalists for this latest outing, none more so that Zed Bias on the second track. This is another bass bin botherer and just a few seconds into the track I realised that this album demanded to be listened to on something with a bit more grunt than I have rigged up to my PC, so down to my main stereo I headed, and before pressing play again nudging up my sub a little!
Slagging the press is the in thing at the moment, and Daily Intake doesn't miss a trick with Watch The Media. Profise is on MC duties, condemning the corrupt politicians, judges police and media. It narrowly avoids sounding too hackneyed, but I'm not sure of the lyrics are good enough to stand the test of time. Set to a big, ominous marching drum style beat, it slows the pace a little from the frantic start of the album.
Hint then switches into a rolling bass line hooked over old school garage/jungle beat. The track is called Tape Packs, a nice nod to the rave packs put out by the likes of Dreamscape back in the day. With Hint being just two years my senior I know that he was part of the last generation to have enjoyed these poorly recorded cassettes in his formative years.
Give It Up starts with a synths that made me wonder if I'd accidentally switch to a Modeselektor CD. It drops the bass from some of the earlier tracks and introduces Josie Stingray & 1-O.A.K. on vocals. A good little tune but at just 2 minutes 17 it seems to be cut short in its prime. Stingray and 1-O.A.K. are back on Find Yourself. This time the vocals are a bit more soulful. It has some cool effects going on, one more for the headphones than the dancefloor. The duo may feel a little short changed though because again the track seems like it could go on a bit longer.
The pace drops a little bit in the mid section of the album and Aliens Enter brings in another vocalist in the shape of T Fly. I've got a soft spot for female MCs so it is a bit of a shame they are so thin on the ground. T Fly has a good voice and her softly spoken but speedy flow works well around the bell like chime and other FX used in track. T Fly is probably the stand out vocalist for me and she returns on Peter & I. The Peter is Pan and the track is a great day dream about childhood games. It's playful and fun, a track to put a smile on your face. This is a lady I will definitely be listening out for in the future.
As the album reaches its closing stages we are treated to a monster bassline of the wub wub variety in Pretty Stable. This is coupled with a super 8 bit style synth. It's a real head nodder with a punchy beat throughout. The final track is Mad Nervous. A fitting title with its
twitchy, fidgety garage beat and chopped up vocal. This track features another great bassline, something of a feature of the entire album.
A quick scout around Hint's Soundcloud and Mixcloud pages confirm influences that are coming through loud and clear in this album. Plenty of dancehall, reggae, hip-hop garage and jungle (as an aside, his Bristol Jungle mixes on Mixcloud are an epic ode to some of the scene's founding fathers). Hint claims that this is something of a concept album and it is
certainly a departure from his downtempo debut and the more straight up hip-hop that he released since. It is also to be expected that not every track will exactly hit the spot. Nevertheless Daily Intake showcases the superb production talent that Hint brings to everything he releases. Whilst this might not usurp Portakabin Fever in my list of all time greats, it is a hugely strong release. One that is immediately enjoyable as well as having enough about it to keep you coming back for more.