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SHY & D.R.S - Before Too Long (Album Review)

Thursday, 17 May 2012 Written by Helen Grant
SHY & D.R.S - Before Too Long (Album Review)

Dubbed the next big thing in Hip Pop Rock by NME Magazine and The Proclaimers of Hip Hop by The Sun, after years of chasing pavements, SHY & D.R.S are poised to give birth to one of the coolest genre explosions ever; a gutsy, heart-felt, blood-boiling, soul-stirring collection of 13 tracks featuring unlikely collaborations that work.

ImageThe life of the party with a seemingly insatiable sexual appetite, the Scott brothers - Mark James (SHY) and Darren Robert (D.R.S) - are the best twin rap group you've never heard, unless you've heard of them. 

The degree educated duo from Aberdeen are an easy band to love or despise, depending on your stance on antagonistic explanations of human abilities and behaviour and openly mocking flirtations with girls with guys that are as unsurreptitious as they come. Most interesting bands are divisive in that way.

Formerly managed by Scots Rock legend Midge Ure and ex Stereophonics manager Ronnie Gurr, make no mistake, these guys are trouble; picking fights, breaking hearts and eating chicks like cannibals. With lyrics like: "If you can make them laugh you can make them do anything. Give me half a chance, I'm going to have you naked" and "What's up son you look nervous, she's your girlfriend, see if I care," it's easy to see why guys wanna leather them and girls wanna tame them.

The latest act to join Sandi Thom's Guardian Angels roster in collaboration with Universal, the soulful rappers debut album 'Before Too Long' is a gateway into a world sculpted around addiction; drink, sex, clubs and mimicry, opening with a track as perilous as it's title suggests in it's power to rile every loved up man on the planet. 

Short-sighted commentators might argue that the lyrics' superficiality is carefully plotted but it feels like SHY & D.R.S are genuinely about instant gratification, hooked on the fast coming, intense high from the immediate fear of a twist ending.

It’s not all bad boys farting the charm offensive, mind. Nostalgia fans will be appeased with the operatic rap ballad 'Heart of Stone' featuring classical singer Nika whose voice took me by surprise, in a good way. Beautiful, but a different type of beautiful, Nika is a voice I could listen to at 3am on a freezing cold morning, gazing longingly out of the window while under the influence of large amounts of whiskey.

Every sound is thrown against the wall here. In a possibly subconscious reference to an imminent breakthrough, there are mentions of "unleashing the beast" and "letting the animal inside creep out". With lyrics like those, it is no surprise to hear that the Scots duo received songwriting help from Eminem's band D-12 on tracks like 'Rockstar', but SHY & D.R.S are far removed from bleached denim and bling bling. They may sport caps and tats and spanking white trainers, but they are the antithesis of hard, shifty expressions and their confidence is underpinned with a humble charm - "Our Dad is our biggest fan," says D.R.S.

Highlights on this album include Relapse featuring former X Factor contestant Luke Bingham, legendary rockers Nazareth, whose riotous, feisty lyrics are a surprisingly natural fit for a hip hop classical combo, and an appearance from Thom, who is gearing up for the release of her own 4th album this summer and is seen in promo pictures sporting an all-in-one orange prison suit and bangs, a look that sees her offing the flower-holding punk rocker she once aspired to be in favour of the 21st-century Americana chick she has become since her move to Los Angeles.

The whole package is as subtle as a feet first stage dive, a marriage of genres that sounds like nothing else out there. With their passion for rap now matched by the business acumen of Thom and her team, the solid ground beneath the twin's feet is about to give way. Suspend your cynacism for long enough to get an earful and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

'Dirty Girl' is currently available as a free download on SoundCloud with a video to accompany it.

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