The Hempolics’ debut album Kiss Cuddle & Torture Volume 1
is a fun and inventive debut record packed with zesty numbers from
start to finish. Perhaps what makes The Hempolics so distinctive is
their refusal to fully commit wholeheartedly to one genre – to describe
them simply as a reggae artist would do an injustice to the complexity
and creativity displayed on this record.
While the songs have a strong dub and reggae influence, each track
has been seasoned with a mix of hip-hop, electronica, R&B, soul and
cinematic-rock guitar riffs. Lead songwriter Grippa Laybourne
seems to have cherry-picked his favourite musical styles from the genre
buffet and tossed them into his mighty eclectic songwriting cauldron.
Listening to Kiss, Cuddle & Torture Volume 1 is not too
dissimilar from trying a peanut butter and jam sandwich, or licking salt
before swigging tequila for the first time – combinations that seem
strange and odd, yet complement each other in a unique way.