A strange and seductive fourth outing...
'IV'

We're happy to say that hip-hop loving jazzy oddities BADBADNOTGOOD have emerged clutching a follow up to last year’s acclaimed Ghostface Killah collab ‘Sour Soul’. The practically-titled ‘IV’ sees the group welcome touring saxophonist Leland Whitty into the fold full time as well as some welcome guest vocals from the Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring.

Ever since setting the blogosphere alight back in 2011 with their free debut, the band have made a career combining their pop culture influences with impressive free improvisational jamming and humour. From live sessions with Tyler the Creator, to covers of My Bloody Valentine, the band has continually let their vast music tastes lead them and as a result have even ended up working with the like a Ri-Ri and Drake. Odd world.

On ‘IV' the tone is set with opener ‘And, That Too’, a balancing act between nocturnal ambience and some wigged out jazz licks. As expected from a band rocking their fifth year the results are more polished, focused, but does this make the final product suffer? Overall, no. If anything all the three-and-a-half-to-four-minute track lengths make the bands unique brand of improv more digestible to the uninitiated. As with previous work there’s an easy, chilled atmosphere to the material that can mean the album passes in the background without demanding too much attention but the inclusion of three guest vocals saves the day.

Hyssop of Love feat. Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins invokes that classic soulful hip-hop that Kendrick has been masterfully evolving of late and in doing so creates an album highpoint. Ultimate dad dancer Samuel T. Herring brings his cracked melancholy to the heartfelt ‘Time Moves Slow’, while fellow Toronto native Charlotte Day Wilson helps create perfect ‘60s layered pop on ‘In Your Eyes’.

‘IV’ marks a refinement of the BADBADNOTGOOD sound and as ever is filled to the brim with gorgeous melodies and impressive digressions. Will it do anything for those without a love for instrumental tunes? Perhaps not, but those with broader tastes are in for a treat.

7/10

Words: Sam Walker-Smart

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