30/70 ‘Elevate’ LP/CD/DIG (Rhythm Section International) 4/5

30/70 are more of a community than a group, taking their name from the postcode of Northcote, a bohemian suburb of Melbourne. Their influences range from jazz, 90s hip hop, soul, funk, electronica and everything else in-between. The five key members are vocalist, MC and poet Allysha Joy, Ziggy Zeitgeist (great name) on drums, Henry ‘Hazy’ Hicks on bass, Thomas Mansfield on guitar and synths, and Jarrod Chase very specifically playing Fender Rhodes. Other players also contribute with an 11-piece ensemble available when needs must, but this 8-track collection, which is more of a mini-LP than a full scale album, is their second studio effort after their 2015 debut, ‘Cold Radish Coma’. ‘Elevate’, released via Peckham’s Rhythm Section International, the multifaceted media indie that has also brought us projects by Henry Wu and Al Dobson Jr., in addition to hosting a radio show on NTS and promoting regular club nights around London, is the prefect vehicle for this collective.

‘Misrepresented’ was the first track released prior to ‘Elevate’, with its alternating boom bap drum patterns, punchy horns and potent vocals. ‘Takin’ Me Back’ is a modern 6/8 bluesy ballad of sorts, and sees Allysha Joy lamenting about a lost love. ‘Get To Me’ is a short mainly instrumental piece that possesses touches of Sa-Ra and ‘Breaking (For This World to Change)’ with its rhythmically loose bass and drum parts, contains vocal moments reminiscent of Bembe Segue – a possible influence on Allysha. ‘Nu Spring’ is the most dense piece of the set, with its frantic mid section before it winds down for the final minute. ‘Lucid’ a 61-second studio jam, could be an effective track if longer in length and ‘Slangin’ displays a nod to Erykah Badu both stylistically and with its energy, with its strong bridge section that incorporates lightly distorted vocals for impact.

Obvious alignments with Melbourne super group Hiatus Kaiyote are apparent and they will share a similar fan base, and this 33-minute project on a very hip London record label will do them no harm. But the possible star of the group is vocalist Allysha Joy. Her energy, virtuosity and relenting infectiousness will undoubtedly lead to other offers. Allysha Joy first appeared on my radar earlier in 2017 with the release of her 7” ‘FNFL’ on Australian Northside Records, which has been one of my clandestine DJ secrets since its release (which also features Henry Hicks and Ziggy Zeitgeist). So whether this collective will continue to release music under this configuration or whether they will create their own creative paths remains to be seen, but Allysha Joy is a definite future star.

Damian Wilkes