Manchester Ritz

Yo, [I]Whose Line Is It Anyway?[/I] in the house!

Manchester Ritz

Yo, Whose Line Is It Anyway? in the house! "Give me some images, help me maintain," implores MC Supernatural, Freestyle Scientist and Pharcyde-collaborator. People shout out words, and hand up stuff - brushes, bracelets, demo-tapes - for him to rap on spontaneously. "I'm a sexual badger!" he declares. Muttering, "fucking students", under his breath. Probably.

If Supernatural (Original rhymes! Impressions! And his own cracking nu-skool tune) steals the first-half, it's no slight on The Pharcyde. A sharp tag-team, Imani and Booty Brown are engaging frontmen. And, if some tunes shilly-shally uncertainly in supper jazz territory, the band - guitarist, keyboard-player and prime RSI-candidate DJ M-Walk - otherwise create a raw pulsing synergy.

Rae & Christian, purveyors of a supple real soul/hip-hop hybrid, aren't perfect - they're prone to the odd moment of undistinguished smoothness and there's no reason, other than self-indulgence, for Mark Rae to be rapping during 'Crazy Rhymin' - but they're not far off. Particularly live.

Instrumentals, like 'Time To Shine', see the multifarious band melding 30 years of urban cool (funk to Latin, acid jazz to hip-hop) into intricate, glowing funk. Alongside that are tracks like the sensational stripped-down 'Spellbound', a slice of luxury Balearic pie. It could be massive, were it rush-released to catch a few San Antonio sunsets, but there's no hurry. Rae & Christian, you feel, already have an unstoppable momentum.

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