Newham Generals – Generally Speaking Revisited

As the Generals release Hard, their creepy David Rodigan sampling collabo with Breakage, I think it’s time to take stock and revisit their debut release, Generally Speaking.

Generally Speaking, Newham Generals much-anticipated debut CD was released in April to some seriously mixed reviews. The Observer’s Hugh Montgomery (whose name would suggest the nearest he’s come to ‘weed’ is when there is a ‘t’ prefixing it) said the album ‘didn’t bear close inspection’, whilst the Times’ Pete Paphides enjoyed the ‘joie de vivre’ displayed in the pair’s delivery…

Since when did right wing papers speak more favourably about Grime than left wing ones?!

Fans held similarly opposing views about the album. Some thought that after three years in the making, the albums’ impact wasn’t as emphatic as it could have been; songs such as ‘Heard You Been Smoking’ and ‘Pepper’ considered little more than meanderings from their chosen Grime path.

Others welcomed the new direction and celebrated the re-working of those wheel-triggering live bars we all know and love, into equally fitting pieces of music. The fact that the album paid little or no regard to genre constraints or the notoriously narrow expectations of fans was, to them at least, a bonus.

Personally, I can see it from both points of view. Whilst the vision for the album was spot-on; a CD full of new music uninhibited by genre, it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. The vocal effects and rave parallels only muddied its line of attack. ‘Heard You’ve Been Smoking’ was terrible, and, as an adult male, ‘Bell Dem Slags’ was embarrassing. Either could, and should, have been replaced by this:

This was all over radio sets promoting the album and yet, come the CD release was nowhere to be seen. An ideal opportunity for the lads to showcase their playful side and bring those Yard vibes to the table was unfortunately missed.

If there was one line of consensus throughout, it was that the stomping ‘Supadupe’ and Prodigy-esque roller and lead single ‘Head Get Mangled’ were undeniable NG classics. Logan’s vocal mash-up (Link) of Double’s verses on ‘Supadupe’ and ‘Frontline’ has to be one of the Grime recordings of 2009.

The release of NG’s album was positioned as an epochal-defining moment in Grime ever since it was on the cards. Yet, five months on, it is hardly being mentioned. With their next release, Foots and Dee should take heed of the fact that their music need not masquerade as some kind of ravey-Grime mash-up, or tie itself up in controversy. They have that Grime and Dubstep hybrid on lock, they should act as such.

There was enough promise on Generally Speaking to work with. Let’s hope that for the next release, the mighty Newham Generals play to their strengths and keep it Yard, hard, but most importantly, fun. Working with Breakage therefore, is a step in the right direction.

Kristian

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One Response to “Newham Generals – Generally Speaking Revisited”

  1. mctigz Says:

    Check Out My Page! Ive got Links 2 My Pages.. Im an artist I Make Grime check it out.. Leave A Comment Or Feedback on my page.. Thanks!

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