Reviews Zone

The Allergies: Say The Word (Jalapeno Records) Out now



5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)



Bristol duo The Allergies fourth album is – like the three previous releases – on hip Brighton label Jalapeno Records, who obviously know a good thing when they hear it.

So do we…It’s a flipping beaut’ if you dig top notch soul, hip hop, funk and great dance music. We most certainly do here at Music Republic Magazine….

The Allergies are in fact DJs Moneyshot and Rackabeat, who first dropped their own music as a partnership back in 2012, when they digitally self-released two tracks “Big Star” and “Symphonics”.

A year later the “Heartbreaker” EP was released by Riddim Fruit Records. There’s been a bunch of singles and three EPs thus far. Four albums, starting with their June 2016 debut, “As We Do Our Thing”, which made a big impact.

“Push On” dropped in 2017, then “Steal The Show” in 2018 and now the quite marvellous, “Say The Word”, in summer 2020.

“We like breaks, funky basslines, horns, and dancefloor grooves. We’re inspired by the golden eras of funk, soul, disco and hip-hop, and we try and cram that into three and a half minutes”, say the pair. Well they deliver all of that and more in spades on this box-fresh LP.

So, while deliberately avoiding lazy puns based on the band’s name and the summer/hay fever season, and/or cheesy references to this being a “party album” that’s “saved the summer”….. let’s just dive in and get deeper than that nonsense…..

Because it’s all about the music, after all is said and done…

First of the 13, “Hit Me One Time” featuring singer Andy Cooper, is a banging slice of Bronx or Compton style retro hip hop and the vocal is awesome. One of the hottest cuts of the year for me. Eminem has competition….The only negative of this track is it ends after three minutes and 29 seconds. More……

Second track, it’s carnival time with the brass-drenched “Let Them Know”, featuring ‘you-must-see-’em-live’ The Cuban Brothers.

Andy Cooper and Marietta Smith share vocal duties on the title track, which blurs the boundaries between hip hop, r&b and pop on a commercial and radio-friendly cut

Cracking dose of Northern Soul with “Felony”, which samples the 1960s vocal from New Orleans artist Sammy Ridgley. Great job and destined to become a much-requested track in the right places, once this pandemic shite is done with.

Staying with the 60s vibe, this time the type of pop sound you’d have heard on the TV show “Ready Steady Go!”.  Marietta Smith turns in a smashing vocal on “Take My Love”, with a chorus reminiscent of Janelle Monae’s fab “Tightrope”.

Andy Cooper’s vocals are on-point again on the dreamy “I Just Got That Feeling”. Love the next track, “Every Trick In The Book”, which presumably samples a vintage vocal, but I have no access to the credit of who that is, unfortunately.  Sounds like the vocal may well have been pitch shifted and/or speeded up. Very soulful and worth an ear full.

“Get Yourself Some” is another superbly soulful vocal, but again, no credits have been supplied as to who delivers said vocal. I seem to recall a track by the same name by US soul singer Earl Thomas from a few years back – an artist I managed, at one point. Doesn’t sound like his voice though. The backing sounds a it like Stax house band territory though…….

Andy Cooper and Marietta Smith are back together again on the vocals for “Rile ‘Em Up”, which sustains the quality and the BPM. Never mind rile ’em up, roll up that carpet…..

“Hot Sensation” features Dynamite MC and is pure vintage hip hop, and another winner. I am almost tempted to get up off my seat at this desk and recall those dance moves from back in the day. But as my back goes out more than I do these days, best not as I cannot afford the physio!

“I’m On It” features Dr Syntax & Skunkadelic, and doesn’t let up on the BPMs and the dance floor inspiration. Horns are cool.  Talking of cool horns, penultimate cut, “Take Me Back”, offers up some fabulous reed skills from Bristol-based Mr Woodnote.

Proceedings close with track 13: It Feels So Good”. Marietta Smith – of Smith and the Honey Badgers –  gets the vocal all to herself this time, and a nice job she does on the mid-tempo, Latin-infused soul track.

Easiest maximum five stars I have awarded an album in a review for a good while…..There, I’ve said the word…..


By Simon Redley



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