One of the best up-and-coming bands of the festival and big gig circuits is the Lazy Habits. They’ve supported the likes of Mos Def, The Specials and Beardyman, so it’s no surprise to hear they play intelligent hip-hop with a conscience, integrating funk and soul yet still somehow managing to sound contemporary. This isn’t an easy goal to achieve, but the Habits succeed in spades. Fronted by dapper red-haired producer-singer-rapper James (MC Lazy) and the equally debonair Robin (Skin Horse), the core band comprises a saxophonist, trumpet and bass players, drummer, a percussionist and DJ Itchi on the decks. Most of these guys are classically trained, and it shows in their song arrangement, in the inventive employment of their instruments, and in their professionalism: They’re so tight on stage, that if you gave them each a carbon butt-plug, by the end of the gig you’d have eight diamonds.
Guided by the capable hands of James, the Habits have recently returned from a well-received tour around Europe, and as always are doing the rounds of the festivals this summer (just the logistics of organising eight-plus band members, their instruments, travel, accommodation, and making sure they all have enough space on stage makes Cliterati’s mind boggle). Much has been made of the Lazy Habits as a live band, and they are indeed blisteringly hot on stage: their talent comes across with such heartfelt energetic enthusiasm that up on the podium and down on the dancefloor it quickly becomes a sweat box.
The Habits ever-increasing fanbase is evident from the fact that all advance copies of their self-titled debut album have sold out. But can they cut it in the studio, and are their exceptional qualities just as appealing when you don’t have access to the visual feast of the Lazy Habits’ live show? Well, yes: their experience and integrity remains apparent, and standout songs such as the album single Starting Fires and Fades immediately prompt rousing singalongs (in fact the whole album is a great opportunity for listeners to exercise their vocal chords at high volume). However, as with most bands, for Cliterati nothing quite compares to seeing grown men playing their hearts out on stage – and the Lazy Habits really are incredible live. In the meantime their album fills a Habits-sized hole very nicely indeed. They may be currently under the radar, but we can assure you that it won’t be for long. Highly recommended.
Lazy Habits new single The Road is out now.