28 Feb 2021

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Raw Collective - Album Review: The Good Things

18 Feb 2021 // A review by Ben Ruegg

The Good Things is the latest LP from the 10-piece live hip-hop band Raw Collective from Wellington. The album is quite something that showcases the versatility of the group's ability to swing from different styles of hip-hop, funk and soul. They have on display here a set of songs that are calling out to be discovered live while still capturing a feel that translates perfectly through headphones or a good set of speakers.

Growing up after my era of only ever listening to metal and rock (that was when I was about 16), my friend introduced me to Dr Dre's The Chronic in the early 2000's. Upon being told by my friend, who also was a metalhead, that I should actually listen to the album without any preconceptions of what it would sound like, I found myself fighting the urge to actually tell him I did enjoy it. It was the way the music was performed and the richness of its musicality. That then led me to a whole other world of music, and since then, I have never assumed anything about an artist or genre. I simply sit back and give the music my attention without distraction.

I mention this simply because upon hearing this album I get thrown all around the different genres of hip-hop, soul and funk that I found out about after that fateful night back in 2000.

The opening track First Movement starts with a tasty guitar line before diving headfirst into a hip-hop funk sound that brings back my memories of groups like Jurassic 5 and the more east coast flavour of conscious hip-hop. The verses are tight with a groove that knows exactly how to let the MCs take the lead. They are standing on a platform held up strong by a group of musicians that understand the importance of space in music. As a music lover to believes in giving things your complete undivided attention, a nod of approval is required for the beautiful ghost notes on the snare in the song and to the ending, the groove changes feel. It's clever and it's just the beginning. 

Good Things has a kind of drum and bass feel albeit slower than drum and bass. The backing vocals are tight and soulful with the chorus showcasing a call and response idea even more exemplified by the different voices coming and both the left and right channels.

Calling gives Moira Jean her first chance to take the lead which is just so soulful. The realness of everything in this song is just spectacular. The saxophone lines from Eilish Wilson adds another layer in the second verse while the band holds together a super tight feel.

Across the album, each track just continually allows this group to show you their care and attention for a style that is so diverse and exciting. I want to mention again the musicality because everyone in the group, from the brass and rhythm section, to the sampler, Emcees and singers, they all work as a collective to you on a journey. You can hear influences from both NZ and international acts while they never implicitly copy any of the former mentioned. 

I would love to hear how these songs translate live because for me that is what music is about; getting together and all feeling that energy together. That back and forth transfer of the energy while it continually grows and becomes overwhelming, in a good way, is something special to be apart of. I can feel all this from this LP and can only imagine what that would be like to feel live.

I also want to give a nod to the fact that the last song To The Moon has a feel reminiscent to some of the music from Incubus' album S.C.I.E.N.C.E which I absolutely love. It's just another sign of this albums strengths.


Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Raw Collective

Appearing on the scene with their first music video Coins (Memories) which won single of the year on Radioactive.fm and support from independent radio stations across the country, Raw Collective set themselves on a path to make inspiring original music and back it up with an energetic live show.

Since then, the crew have released their debut full album gaining critical acclaim, write ups and radio play around the world.

The last two years have seen the band hit the road with two NZ tours and a successful 5-show Australian tour in March 2019.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Raw Collective


For The Ancients
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Wise Horizons
Year: 2014
Type: EP

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