Music Review: Professor Elemental And His Amazing Friends: Part 2

Professor Elemental And His Amazing Friends: Part 2

Review by Steve J. Ray

With the summer rapidly coming to an end we need to grasp every ray of sunshine that we can get our grubby little mitts on. But, lo... what's that on the horizon? A new album by Professor Elemental? The day has been saved!

It's been a while since we reviewed the excellent "School Of Whimsy" and the sequel (featuring the Professor's fate at the hands of squirrels, Mr. Swan, Gideon, Professor Zero and someone that left the Prof scared witless) is still in the works... but fear not, dear listener, our Chap-Hop champion has returned!

I'm a weird nerd completist, so I've heard many of the tracks on this new collection before... but never like this! Professor Elemental and his buddies have made an album collecting some of Chap-Hop's rare and hard to find collaborations, but they're brand new mixes, and re-recordings, not the same versions we've heard before.

Oh... and there's brand new stuff too!

From the 90s Justice League-esque cover, to the very last note, this album is a joy in every respect.

"Testify" starts the album. It's a brand new jam that's so full of power and positivity that it could even be the cure for a rainy day.

"Housebound Hedonist" is a brand new version of the great "Housebound Hedonism" from "School Of Whimsy."

Anyone who's had an awful holiday abroad will love and totally identify with the Professor and Dr. Syntax's words and thoughts.

"The Present" is another totally refreshed version of the great collaboration between our hero and Moviestar. It's a catchy, addictive ear-worm to make even Mr. Mind jealous.

"Tea Total" repackages one of my favourite ever Prof collabs, with the ever brilliant Swinghoppers. It features tea, coppers, a lovely tea-lady and irreverent excellence... all in a yummy tea-bag shaped package.

"Walk In The Sun" is three and a half minutes of audio vitamin D. Play this track loud on a grey and miserable day, and I guarantee a smile and a burst of energy. Play it on your walk to the car/bus stop/train station, and you'll feel a new bounce in your step.
"Needful Things" is another fresh, classic Tom Caruana / Professor Elemental classic. Just a piano, a beat and a whimsical rap... what more does anyone really need?

"You Remind Me Of The Hustle" is the "You Remind Me Of A Car"/"The Hustle" (70s dancefloor mega-hit) mash-up I never I knew I needed until I heard it. Magic.

"Make Good Art Pt. 3" is a another "School Of Whimsy" track, but it's been given a brass band boost and brought kicking and screaming into the far-flung future, or about a year after the original was made... I don't know time-travel, it's all a bit wibbly-wobbly.

"Snake Oil" is a brand new, Western tinged, Texan tale, with our hero joining forces with the Sweetchunks Band. Banjos, beats and carnival voodoo abound.

"Just Like An Otter" is the first single from the album, and vintage Prof. Complete and Otter silliness... in the best way possible, it's a terrific steampunk adventure in the style of the classic Prof albums "The Indifference Engine" or "Apequest."

Check out the video!
"Brave New World" is all 80s synths, sci-fi and Victoriana. This track is both a celebration and an utter condemnation of the internet and social media. In an album replete with brilliant tracks, this could be my favorite... at least for the next half dozen or so listens.

"P's & Q's" It's all about politeness, you see? I love, love, LOVE this track. Any time the Professor comments on rappers and the music industry makes me happy. No guns, no busting a cap in anyone's @$$, he just gives the whippersnappers a firm talking to. I love the soulful chorus too. Brilliant.

"Devil In The Desert" is either a heatstroke nightmare or a hilarious dig at how the Brits react to hot weather. Either way it's an ethereal hip-hop diamond, with jazz and vintage radio/TV samples that makes it a vintage, modern masterpiece.

"Monster" closes the album in style. It's a great track teaming the Prof with Ninjula. Over the  last 24 hours I've had this album on loop, as I always do with any new Professor Elemental release. This track is everything we expect from the Prof and love about him... in fact this is true of the whole collection.

Conclusion

One thing is clear, Professor Elemental is an artist that loves what he does and cares about his fans. Even though a lot of this album is familiar, the fact that the tracks that aren't brand new have been remixed, repackaged and enhanced makes for an all-new listening experience.

Buy it, stream it, download it... you won't be sorry. I'm keeping my peepers peeled for a vinyl release... gotta love them flats of wax. Geoffrey! Stick the kettle on!
Album art courtesy of Professor Elemental and Tea Sea Records.

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