I first saw her on last year's Glastonbury TV footage, with just one acoustic song ('Battle Cry'), which we recorded along with a load of other stuff. We weren't familiar with her but Mr SDS and I are open-minded to something different. We liked it but didn't really think too much more about it until playing it back some time later, when there was something about the acute conviction of her performance that reeled us in and the song itself stayed with us both. Later still Mr SDS investigated a couple of other tracks online which sounded good. So, last week, he bought the album 'Dirty Gold'.
I was out on the day that it arrived in the post. When I got back home, I asked him if he'd played it and how he liked it. “I'm knackered,” he replied. “It's so intense, I feel like I've been through it. But in a good way...” It's a while since anyone's album has done that to either of us. It used to be the case with, oh let me think.. Joy Division... Crass... Babes In Toyland. You know the kind of thing, when a collection of tracks are so angry, angsty, personal, sad, confessional or whatever, that you feel a little drained when it's all over.
It would be easy to define Angel Haze by her rapping, and equally easy to perhaps think, “But I don't like rap so I won't like this” but there's so much more to this than her obvious talent for articulating rhyming couplets at high speed. The varied and often lush instrumentation throughout the album, her sweeter melodic vocals that complement the harder edges, some ethereal effects and an evident lack of compromise (which I fear may not be so evident in time if marketing types get their way) put me more in mind of Neneh Cherry, Tricky, Massive Attack. Then on reading about her and appreciating her quite shocking background I can understand why listening to the album has the effect it does, and that that's no bad thing.
Here's an interview from The Guardian which explains a little more.
I must commend my husband on his latest purchase!
Angel Haze: Dirty Gold (from the album Dirty Gold)
Angel Haze: Deep Sea Diver (from the album Dirty Gold)
Angel Haze: acoustic performance of Battle Cry, Glastonbury 2014