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July 13, 2009 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Bliss N Eso: Flying Colours


The words Australia and hip-hop are perhaps not all that synonymous. Despite this, Bliss N Eso are some cats that have been on the Australian underground tip for quite a while now. More recently the Sydney trio have come to the fore making some ‘giant leaps’ in the name of Australian hip-hop.

Flying Colours is Bliss N Eso’s third album and the most successful thus far, having finally won them Best Urban Release at the ARIA Awards in 2008, and debuting in the Top 10 on the ARIA charts (a first for any Australian hip hop artist).

Aside from perhaps two other groups, Bliss N Eso are pretty much the only Australian Hip hop act to receive this much commercial attention. This means two things. One, the boys are on their way up; two, the same can be said for Australian Hip hop.

Flying Colours
boasts a conscious tip with tracks like ‘Bullet and a Target’, ‘The Sea is Rising’ and ‘Field of Dreams’ addressing issues within social and political spheres. These are balanced with songs like ‘Eye of the Storm’, ‘Woodstock 2008’, ‘Happy in my Hoodie’ and ‘$5 Steak’, discussing days and nights with the “ladies” and the natural “chill” life in Australia.

The album obviously finds influence in US hip hop, especially Kanye somewhere between College Dropout and Late Registration. The ‘soldier’ harmonies of ‘The Zulu Connection Choir’ in ‘Bullet and a Target’ paired with Bliss N Eso’s strong vocal give dramatic effect, while the keyboard in ‘Zion Bash’ will remind you of Chris Martin’s keys in ‘Homecoming’.

Knowing the group’s background charity work in Africa, I could appreciate the use of African gospel melodies on their tracks. ‘Never Give Up’ got that inspirational feel through the vocals of Changes and a booming drum and bass line.

Lyrically the boys do alright, and I won’t lie, I can’t hate on the beats. In total the album has a mix of US and Mediterranean influence, while it’s Australian element is found in the lyrical content, like in ‘Happy in my Hoody’:

I kicked a rhyme about Howard / he got kicked the fuck out

Suffice to say Bliss N Eso’s third go round is palatable. I look forward to hearing more from these guys as well as others on the Australian hip hop scene.

Bliss N Eso
Flying Colours
(Illusive Sounds)


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