Rarely, if ever, has a Scottish hip-hop act won such a wide fan-base in such a short time as Edinburgh’s Stanley Odd. Formed just three years ago amid the Scottish capital’s close-knit, genre-blurring music scene, the six-piece have spread their inspirational brand of musical good news – matching Solareye’s brilliantly eloquent yet impish MCing with masterly musicianship and powerhouse beats – to a uniquely diverse swathe of converts, via their 2010 debut album Oddio and a hardworking schedule of incendiary live shows. They’ve opened for the likes of Arrested Development, Asian Dub Foundation, Sage Francis and Easy Star All-Stars, in amongst headline appearances including T in the Park, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, the Insider festival, Wickerman and Celtic Connections.
Capitalising on the line-up’s disparate collective background – including members from Norway, Germany and sundry Scottish towns, whose past experience takes in rock, pop and indie styles – together with their shared preference for real instruments, Stanley Odd adapt the hip-hop template to reflect their distinctive ensemble dynamic. “Everybody chips in their own ideas or parts or riffs into a song,” explains Solareye, “we’ll go into the studio and record it, then we’ll sample it, chop it back up and rearrange it, work out how to play it again and re-record it. Going through those two stages takes it away from conventional song structures, hopefully to end up with something a bit more individual and interesting.”
Partnering Solareye’s restlessly agile flow are the commanding, soulfully burnished tones of fellow vocalist Veronika Electronika, backed by the artfully crafted soundscapes, grandly stirring melodies and irresistibly inventive grooves of Scruff Lee (guitars), T Lo (keyboards), Samson the Snake (drums/electronics) and AdMac (bass). Their mesmerising wordcraft and musical richness have already extended their following across tribes from hard-core grimesters to the folk scene. Stanley Odd’s message of resistance, challenge, solidarity and affirmation resounds more potently than ever.