Rod Liddle

Cypress Hill: Elephants on Acid

A true bravura offering from these supposedly tired old men full of confidence and knowing nods to Jefferson Airplane

Cypress Hill: Elephants on Acid
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Grade: A+

Easily album title of the year, maybe album of the year. A true bravura offering from these supposedly tired old men. Cypress Hill are now in comfortable middle age, almost as old as me, ffs. But they were ever ludicrously inventive and idiosyncratic, right back to that first album in 1991, which wrote the template for many lesser and even more profane hip hop gods.

This one is mired in psychedelia, as even Charles Moore might have guessed from the title. There are very knowing nods to, especially, early Jefferson Airplane — although the guitar sounds more like Barry Melton than Jorma Kaukonen — and Sly and the Dead and Moby Grape. So it’s kinda like the Isley Bros great 1971 album Givin’ It Back, in which a clever and undoubtedly woke soul band covered cool left-wing whitey rock of that rather loveable age, which is no bad thing. But in its clever reimagining of this dated stuff it reminds me even more of Beck’s debut Mellow Gold, for its wit, its laudably perverse out-thereness, its utter confidence in what it is doing.

It kicks off with sitars, synths and a gong. Segues into the fabulous muezzin wail of ‘Band of Gypsies’ (remember them, you Hendrix stoners?), with an acid guitar cutting through the mix. Then the electronic nastiness of ‘Put Em In The Ground’ before the exquisite ‘Jesus Was A Stoner’ lowers the tempo a little. There’s even room for a little ur-Tom Waits on ‘LSD Interval’, before the magnificently inane and catchy ‘Oh Na Na’ kicks in, followed by another Airplane homage ‘Thru The Rabbit Hole’. All wonderful. There’s life in these gentlemen yet.