[MUSIC: Album Review] The Herd – Better Alive EP
Better Alive EP
Despite having been around for over a decade now, The Herd are showing no signs of slowing down. Better Alive offers cuts from the Future Shade Sessions and there is still plenty of the refreshing honesty and the lack of pretence that has kept this crew relevant in the burgeoning Aussie hip hop scene.
‘Under Pressure’, originally released on 2005’s The Sun Never Sets and given a new edge in the ‘repressured’ version here, is just as beautifully poignant now as it was back then, and its inclusion is a nice nostalgic touch for the uninitiated.
‘Darkened Paradise’ is a sultry number that takes you to a cigar-smoke- laced, mojito-soaked bar somewhere in Havana, and a Latin-tinged refrain keeps things fresh. The beat is a welcome change from the womps and wobbles that seem to be creeping into hip hop lately. Although the Sietta remix of ‘A Thousand Lives’ gives it an interesting new bass-inflection, this complements the track rather than overtaking it. ‘Same Song’, meanwhile, is tactfully disdainful of the bastardisation of hip hop but makes its point with an admonishing edge.
Title track ‘Better Alive’, featuring Elefant Traks labelmates Thundamentals and Sky High (and written in the wake of Ozi Batla’s bike accident), is the strongest point on the EP; hopelessly catchy, it blends the grunt of Thundamentals and the ferocious snarl of Sky High with the effortless style of The Herd collective.
There’s nothing particularly game-changing here, but The Herd make music that they like to listen to – and that’s why we keep coming back for more.