The Herbaliser: Herbal Tonic

The Herbaliser: Herbal Tonic
Since the mid-1990s, London’s The Herbaliser has delivered its unique combination of jazz and hip hop. The group is rewarded for their longevity with Herbal Tonic, a greatest hits compilation.
When Americans hear that the Herbaliser is receiving the “greatest hit” treatment, I am sure they will think “anyone can get a greatest hits album”. But across the pond, Brits understand better the influence and acclaim of the Herbaliser. The Herbaliser were one of the largest artists on the legendary Ninja Tune label. Their album’s Blow Your Headphones, Very Mercenary, and Something Wicked this Way Comes all received high critical acclaim. Herbal Tonic contains tracks from these releases as well as tracks from The Herbaliser Band’s releases and a previously unreleased track.
For those not in the know, the selections of Herbal Tonic will suit as a good jumping off point into the catalog of The Herbaliser. Hip hop fans will find plenty to enjoy; the collection features appearances from Jean Grae, MF Doom, and Roots Manuva. Herbal Tonic, also, shows off other sides of the group. “The Missing Suitcase” is a funky instrumental that portrays the duo as a modern Incredible Bongo Band. “Ginger Jumps The Fence” is a bossa nova dance tune that sounds like something Dimitri From Paris would spin.
Despite being a greatest hits album, it does not mean that every track is a winner. DJ Food‘s remix of “Mrs Chombee Takes The Plunge” never really takes off. The track drags on for six minutes without ever really getting exciting. “Sensual Woman” focuses too heavily on sampled soliloquies rather than its musical accompaniment. If you do not find humor in sex talk than the track feels under produced, under developed, and a bit juvenile.
Besides the couple of lame ducks, Herbal Tonic produces its fare share of fine fat gooses. While the one unreleased track and remix probably is not enough to lure die hard fans to purchase the album, it serves as a great introduction to the group for any new comers or casual listeners.
Rating: 8.3/10
STREAM: The Herbaliser “Herbal Tonic Minimix”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!