"A Breath Of Fresh Attire" was the debut release from The Mitchell Brothers. It was released in 2005, and had the London-based duo come with a fresh new sound whilst showing how originally they could take the UK Hip Hop scene with a style similar to the humorous approach of Mike Skinner (whose label they work off). They are in fact cousins Owura Nyanin and Kofi Hanson, but go under the names Tony and Teddy Mitchell (respectively).
1. "F**k Me? F**k You!"
To kick things off, you have them show that they are about to come with something very original with this album, as you here them coming with strong Cocky accents as they raps, and speak with aggression, whihc is eing held back by the fact that they are clearly quite funny guys.
Straight away they show diversity by doing a track with a track which is based on hardcore synth, with takes you down as they speak on how they are living off doll, whilst attempting to convince the tax office that without a deal, they are recording artists about to blow up, and so have to live of forty odd quid pre week.
3. "Routine Check"
This was their debut single, and the one which managed to shift many listeners over to their way of things as they come with quite a shocking subject, and manage to relate to the Black population of the UK, and how they are often targeted by police in the way that Police profiling occurs in the US. The way they break down the system is amazing, and the collaborate with Kano and Mike Skinner is well-valued.
4. "She's Got It All Wrong"
This is the only track on the album which I didn't like to the degree that I did with the rest. I didn't quite make it as the reswt did as this one has them slowing things down quite a lot, and they attempt to supplement it all by using American-sounding beats, but I couldn't get past the lines, so it wasn't really working that well for me.
5. "Somebody Can't Look Us In The Eye"
The humerous material retunrs for this one as you have them doding a concept track (which many of them are) and they tell another story about living on the strees of Stockwell, and what situations you are likely to come across when you cross the wrong people.
6. "Harvey Nicks"
This came as their second single, and it managed to build upon what they had already come with on their first single. It has them produce yet another killer track in which they pick apart the predudices in the world. On this occasion, they take it to the up-market Harvey Nichols store, and speak how many will ignore them in their under the presumptions that they wouldn't be able to afford anything in there.
7. "When The Whistle Blows"
After a little football talk, you have a track which seems to follwo on from this kind of thmee as they rap as they attempt to describe a game, and all of the events whihc occur within it. It would have made for a great video as they bumble along with the rhymes.
8. "Alone With The TV"
This was the final single from the album, and it has them working to a backing of some chipmunked samples, and it really adds to things as it gives it a very differnet feel as they get quite dark, and take things down whilst speaking on their loneliness. It just shows how far they can move things on, and still retain their original style.
8. "Excuse My Brother"
Here's another throwaway track from them as they set up one which has a setting of the pair in a bar, and Tony has had a bit too much to drink. You then get him speaking from this perspective whilst attempting to chat up girls, and Teddy's reaction to this in attempting to get him away from taken girls, and get him out of troublesome situations.
10. "Smart B*****d"
As well as being foudn here, this one was featured as part of the "Adulthood" soundtrack, and I see this as quite significant as it means that it can be extracted from the album and looked as an indivudual tune, away from the general direction of the album. However I felt that it brought things down a bit with a slow pace, and the pair fumbling with the rhymes.
11. "Wish I Did The Same"
As we nudge towards the end of the album, you have them suddenly bringing up the pace with some funky perussion leading them into a tune which has them speaking on how they wish they could go back and do things again, especially when they see how their peers progressed in life when sticking to certian things.
12. "Don't Try This At Home"
Ending things off, you have a track which completely changes from the way that the way the rest of thing thing was composed. It has them make significant alterations to their style in order to give them a chance of coming across as real as they tell a rather dark story to the listener. This switch adds to the variety of the album, and improves the overall quality of things.
If you like The Streets, then you are bound to feel the same towards this too as they come up with a similar sound to The Streets earlier work whilst doing an experimental version of UK Hip Hop and Garage. It is a lot more in the Hip Hop way of things with harder production to the Dance-based Garage sound, but this new thing which they present is bound to excite you whilst they do something similar to what Sway is performing
I bought this album by garage rap act The Mitchell Brothers based on the fact that it was produced by The Beats, which is Mike Skinner from The Streets and Ted Mayhem, and a couple of listens on Youtube that were promising. There is a whole story about how they first came to the attention of Mike Skinner the lead singer and writer of The Streets and this is alluded to on the CD sleeve. The two London based singers that make up the band, Teddy and Tony are not actually brothers but cousins, I guess The Mitchell Cousins for a name just does not get to cash in on the better known Mitchell Brothers from Eastenders and to be honest the two squabble like siblings on some of the tracks.
Overall this is a pretty good album, after only a couple of listens it certainly felt very familiar, there is a good amount of variation in the styles used, you can see a strong Streets influence and Skinner provides some of the lyrics on a couple of the tracks and there are guest appearances from other artists who have been linked with the Streets stable as well as others. What I like is that the lyrics are really clear delivered in a strong North East London accent and you can divide the themes up into sibling arguments, street life for black youths and finally a little bit of romance. There are no Skits which are a plus but a lot of the tracks do have a talking intro to them, sometimes this works other times it is just annoying.
The arguing actually starts on the opening track. Personally I would not have chosen this for an opening track as it almost switched me off from the start. I do not mind the occasional bit of bad language in a song but in this track it is over the top, even the title F*k me? F*ck you! (actual spelling on the sleeve) sets the scene and it goes on to use pretty much every swear word going including the C word. A simple snare drum beats lends itself to the lyrics dominating but this is not a track worth dwelling on.
The urban youth theme is strong on this album and there are a four excellent tracks which both boast strong relentless rhythms backing up strong fast paced lyrics, Routine check is all about stop and search, the chorus in this album has a real force to it that builds up the momentum to the angry choruses that tell a story from different vocalists including Kano and Skinner, in fact Skinner gives the white version of police contact which has a totally different feel to it. G.O.R.G.I.E. is all about signing on the dole, it has an annoying bit of talking at the start but once the driving drum beat kicks in with some good synth music as well it works as a track, the harmonies in the chorus are great and the lyrics really do flow on this track.
Someone can't look us in the Eye has an almost military drum beat to it which is matched with a piece of high pitched, opera style, vocals as the hook, this is another story telling song about the tracking down of a police snitch, not a great track but a little different in style. Wish I did the Same is not a track to listen to if you have a daughter as it displays a pretty casual attitude to sex and is quite graphic in content especially in the opening segment, despite this it has a superb sample to it with a strong Moorish vibe running through the track, I like the mixing on this song and the lyrics are quite funny in places, I can imagine this being very popular live as it has a great beat running through it.
I have said already that I like the range on this album and the slower tracks work really well. Alone with the TV would be my favourite as it has a super bit of vocals in the chorus from Chyna who has a wonderfully powerful voice. I say "would" because I have never understood the fascination with speeded up vocals in the Akon style and this track has one of those annoying samples that run constantly beneath the main vocals alongside a single beat synth drum. Despite this the vocals are excellent and Chynas' chorus remains in my head all day when I hear it. She's Got it all Wrong has a nice piano intro and reminds me of a few slower Streets tracks, this is a nice soulful song with some Mike Skinner vocals mixed in that just emphasises his influence. The keep the laid back vibe on this track it ends with a great guitar solo as well.
The sibling squabbling theme also makes an appearance later on in the album, When the Whistle Blows is a weak track about football that has little to offer except for a mildly amusing intro as the two cousins argue, Excuse my Brother is a much better song with a few bits of vocals from Skinner, a long track at over five minutes (one of three of this length) is beat about drinking too much and getting into fights, the lyrics are excellent and really sharp, the under lying sample is another strong eight beat sound that builds momentum throughout the song.
There are a couple of weak tracks on this album, Harvey Nicks does not really work for me and tracks like Smart B*stard and Don't Try this at Home are both ok but not very memorable in content or sound.
As a debut album this is pretty good, it is a bit removed from my normal listening material but I enjoyed the album and it lasted for a good three months in the car stereo before heading off to gather dust on the shelves however I still listen to it in the gym on my i-pod every so often. There is a nice range and some clever lyrics; most importantly the lyrics are easy to understand and very clear, it will be interesting to see how they progress with their second album that was released in 2007 and one I'm yet to listen to.
If you want to buy then this album is available on Amazon for £8.98 new or from £3.24 in the new and used section. For a full track list check out the description tab at the top of the page.
Thanks for reading and rating my review and a Happy New Year.
A glance at the track list will tell you that there is a lot of swearing on ths UK urban garage acts debut album. The Mitchell Brothers are actually cousins rather than brothers and this album is produced ion conjunction with the Street and on some of the tracks you do get some Mike Skinner vocals.
Hailing from North London you can see the Street album in a number of tracks o this album which is an entertaining listen with some good variations, much of the themes are related to urban life and issues with the police as well as relationships.
GORGIE is one of those slower tempo relationship based songs wherethe different vocal styles of the two singers workd well together. I dislike te opening track just because the language is too explicit and to be honest the rest of ther lyrics are quite intelligent and the album does not need this sort of shock value track.
Routine Check has a great hook in the vocals and is about the stop and search tactics of the police, there is a real anger in the lyrics and a great underlying base sound to the track.
My other favourite song on the album is Someone Can't Lokk us in the Eye which has some menacing lyrics cutting through a great song which has a nice dance beat to it.
1 Fuck Me? Fuck You!
3 Routine Check
4 She's Got It All Wrong
5 Someone Can't Look Us In The Eye
6 Harvey Nicks
7 When The Whistle Blows
8 Alone With The TV
9 Excuse My Brother (album version)
10 Smart Bastard
11 Wish I Did The Same
12 Don't Try This At Home
I like this album, especially the degree of variation between the songs and it is definately worth checking out for some high quality UK rappers who do not see the need to adoptAmerican accents to sell their music.
A Breath of Fresh Attire is the 2005 debut album from London rappers 'The Mitchell Brothers', consisting of cousins Teddy Mitchell (Kofi Hanson) and Tony Mitchell (Owura Nyanin), and released on Mike Skinners label 'The Beats'. The cousins got their name because of how close they were as kids, they would always be seen together and people would say they were 'as close as Phil and Grant', they are often called the 'Geezers with skills' also. Rumour has it Mike Skinner became aware of the group when Teddy Mitchell saw Skinner in a bank and slipped a demo tape with his mobile number into Mike's bag, before long Skinner and the Mitchells were sitting in a chip shop signing a record deal to bring the Mitchells to the masses.
One thing I like about The Mitchell Brother's is the fact unlike many UK rappers they don't try to sound American, they don't talk about typical American subjects, they don't even dress American. Their clothing style mixes brands like Lacoste, Fred Perry, with flat caps and British Tweeds, owning up to Guy Richie being an influence on how they dress, many American rappers, most notable Outkast, have started dressing in this style.
1 - F*ck Me? F*ck You!
A head bouncing track to kick thing of, this track is basically Teddy and Tony arguing with each other, love the heavy beats and chorus, the verses are pretty funny too, with them arguing over things such as who's house they are going to watch the cup final at. A good start.
2 - G.O.R.G.I.E
A song about being on benefits in this country, the beats are quite menacing to match the aggression in the lyrics, love this song, I've been unfortunate enough to have to claim Job seekers allowance a couple of time and I can tell you some of the lines in here about the overall experience, from going in to sign to the piss poor amount you get to live on, hit the nail right on the head. Such a British song.
3 - Routine Check feat Kano and Mike Skinner
One of my favourites on the album and also the first single that was released from the album, the tracks about what happens when the police pull the rappers car's over for a 'routine check' (basically a poor excuse for the police to harass people, I've been a victim of it a few times), love this track, the beats are pretty base heavy and mid paced, while all four of the rappers stand out well on the track, Mike Skinners verse is easily the worst but the different opinion of the white guy on the song and his different experiences to the black men with getting pulled over works well.
4 - She's Got It All Wrong feat Mike Skinner
A really heart felt song about having problems in a relationship, the production could be straight of one of Skinners albums, a nice sounding track that is very easy on the ears, the lyrics are nothing special though, I think I would have liked this song better without Mike being on it.
5 - Someone Can't Look Us In The Eye
This tracks basically about a past robbery, the police quizzing the men involved, and them trying to work out which of them has become a rat and spoken to the police, some nice beats and a wicked story, love the story throughout.
6 - Harvey Nicks feat Sway
Three of my favourite UK rappers together on one track, we can't fail to go wrong here, if 'Routine Check' is one of my favourites then this is my favourite track, the songs basically about shopping in Harvey Nicks and the way they get treated when they go there, which changes depending on how they look. Some really funny lyrics throughout but Sway steal's this track for me -
When I shop at Harvey Nicks,
Everyone thinks I'm a star,
Cos I wear my rented blazer,
And I step out my rented car.
A little girl with a pen ran up to me and said "I know who you are" ,
But when I gave her my autograph she said "mum is this how u spell lemar?"
7 - When The Whistle Blows
A track that couldn't be about a more English subject - football. Both Teddy and Tony are big fans, Tony is a massive Liverpool fan, this track is basically a commentary as if the rappers are a managing a soccer team and shouting from the sidelines and commentating on the match, some clever lines in this one, the beats are pretty grimey and bouncy, a decent song.
8 - Alone With The TV
I've spoken to a few people who really love this track, its basically a painful love sing about losing a girl, not being able to get her back, and being alone, quite deep stuff for these guys, love the chorus using the voice distorter, a nice sounding song if not a touch depressing, I do like it.
9 - Excuse My Brother
OK I already claimed 'Harvey Nicks' was my favourite track, I was wrong this one is on par with it for me, basically a song about how drunk Tony Mitchell gets when he goes out, the trouble he gets himself in, and the problems Teddy goes through trying to look after him when he's drunk. From lines about getting into fights and trying to pull various women this track is comedy gold from start to finish, accompanied by a fairly threatening beat. Love the songs intro.
10 - Smart Bastard feat Mike Skinner
Quite a dark track about a guy who's basically a gangster in many respects, someone who doesn't care, I love the darkness of the music but I'm not to keen on the lyrics and Mike Skinners chorus, one of the weaker tracks in my opinion.
11 - Wish I Did The Same
Another very grime sounding track, the base line makes sure of that, the raps are pretty good (and offensive) basically about having sex with different women and the problems this brings, got to laugh at this one.
12 - Don't Try This At Home
To end the album we get a interesting song, the beats are soft but not laid back, the saxophone (I think its a sax) and guitar in the background really add to the effects of this one, while both rappers rap with a double time rhythm, a good way to finish up.
Overall a 8/10 for the album from me, Teddy and Tony are both brilliant rappers, it's just a shame you can hear so much of Mike Skinners influence on the album and not more of the groups original sounds, I recommend this to any UK rap fans, and fans of The Streets.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Fuck Me? Fuck You!
3 Routine Check (album version)
4 She?s Got It All Wrong
5 Someone Can?t Look Us In The Eye
6 Harvey Nicks (album version)
7 When The Whistle Blows
8 Alone With The TV
9 Excuse My Brother (album version)
10 Smart Bastard
11 Wish I Did The Same
12 Don?t Try This At Home