Dr Syntax & Tom Caruana – A Slice Of Fried Gold (Review)
If you’ve paid any attention at all to UK Hip Hop in the last ten years then you’ll be familiar with the respective talents of Dr Syntax and his frequent collaborator Mr Tom Caruana.
Synners has been redefining what it is to be an MC since he first appeared on the legendary Foreign Beggars LP “Asylum Speakers” back in 2003. Since then he’s been a stalwart of the live scene in particular, smashing up shows from the Czech Republic to Chelmsford and releasing a steady stream of cerebral Hip Hop.
I first heard Tom Caruana as one third of iconic crew The Menagerie on their classic album “Wild Kingdom”, his smooth as hell beats blending seamlessly with the stylings of Syntax himself and fellow MC Elemental. Since then he’s made himself a name as one of the most talented Producers in the country.
“A Slice Of Fried Gold” sees Synners and Tom bringing their A-Game to the table. This could be called a concept album, as it’s tied together with dialogue from the films of British comedy legend Edgar Wright. So you’ll hear clips from Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and TV classic Spaced sprinkled throughout the LP. We kick off with the 8-bit video game flavoured “Universal Intro”, quickly followed up by the almost paranoid “Get Into It” extolling the virtues of the Syntax live show.
“FYI/ FML/ There’s something on the Mirror I can tell isn’t Hair Gel!” – My House
Slacker anthem “Busy Doing Nothing” has a beautifully realized guitar sample alongside a nicely sung hook from the good Doctor. “My House” shares the same story telling greatness that we heard before on tracks like “Sub-Cultures” from the Synners back catalogue, as he shares the horrors of living in a shared dwelling with some properly disgusting housemates. Tom delivers a superbly bouncy Ska-fuelled soundscape for a tale of scumbags and lowlifes that live in a hell pit of a gaff.
Frequent collaborator and fellow movie freak Enlish turns up on “Going Off”, a beastly tale of bouncing about like a loony on a club crawl of epic proportions. The horn filled “Out Of My Mind” is another piece of great storytelling from Synners concerning a particularly dodgy sexual encounter.
“I guess we all wear a mask at times/ That I can’t deny/ I can hardly lie/ I get on stage to play the Party Guy/ Even during darker times/ Disregard my strife/ Swap my grimace for a grin/ Coz it’s my chance to shine” – Masks
Overall I gotta say this is an essential for anyone who values the art of well crafted Hip Hop, there isn’t a weak track on here. Syntax and Mr Caruana have ensured that this is the complete package, from start to finish “A Slice Of Fried Gold” lives up to its name in every aspect. The good vibes and humour are relentless in both their ability to raise a smile and to get your head nodding. Edgar would be proud.
9/10 – A superb return to form from a VERY Dynamic Duo