Hip Hop Beats and loping grooves; emotive Latin-styled guitar; a taut, muscular rhythm section; fiery bursts of funked up aggression; a strong sense of melody and dynamics; the deft touch and textures of a nifty turntablist; short, sharp rasping raps with the occasional blast of singalong anthemics and a strong, collective sense of identity that's epitomised by a sussed, young frontman from Midhurst who can convince with hard and conscious rhymes about the world inside his head and the world outside his door, without feeling the need to pretend that the South Coast of England is the Southside of LA.
For all the diversity, the beats, samples and turntables, there's a defiantly live and vibrant feel to LDP. A band as a unit, banging out grooves, riffs and hooklines conjured up from good old-fashioned sweat and inspiration. This is not one of those exercises in Sampledelics, a Sketchiness of Spain where stolen licks and rickety beats are held together by sellotape and a dose of 2nd Hand attitude. On the contrary. There's something solid at the core of the Lockdown collective, a sense of who they are and where they're from that binds the band and their far-flung influences into something that undeniably belongs to them. Nothing token about the Latinesque guitar, for example, which rides the beats and teases into the spaces, stepping aside when its nasty electric brother kicks in with a barrage of venomous distortion, but gently eking an elegant escape route as the stormy krank of funk subsides.
Their history's been lively too, with various musical cohorts passing through the revolving doors as brothers Ollie and Ben sought to build on their kickstart collision of hardcore guitar and brutalised metallic rap beats. Independent releases and UK tours ensued - and even storming gigs in Japan, but there was always a sense of searching for a way to take the intensity and twist it into different shapes, with new, more personal means of expression.
The turning point came as new arrival James brought in a new style of playing, spinning nimble-fingered Latin poignancy in amongst the crunching power riffs. Open-mouthed in excitement, the band swallowed it whole and promptly knuckled down to the task of distilling their hard, pure essence, bringing the raging funk into focus and blending it all with the fresh, new sounds and unexpected moods they were exploring.
James and drummer Ben write the bulk of the music, ensuring that beats, riffs and poignant guitar get given equal weight from the outset. As the sketches take shape, other members set about the skeleton, adding taut, muscular bass to fatten the grooves and underpin the melodies, with John the DJ's sparse and clever use of the decks adding skitterings of sound and layers of texture, without intruding on James' more intricate guitar. There's a winning directness at work here too, an In Yer Face exuberance on the springheeled grooves of 'Everybody...' and 'Riddle Of Bling', and the hard, elastic funk of 'R U Mad'. 'I Wish' addresses gang violence, but sticks to the world they know in this tale of a boy stabbed to death in a petty argument, the kind that can erupt in an instant when bored youths strut around with weapons - for a laugh, or for kicks, or some cartoon notion of respect. There's no need to set it in some comic strip Gangsta Hell. It happened on their doorstep. To a friend. Reality's brutal enough.
There's a paradox at the heart of LDP that makes you wanna define them by what they're not, as much as what they are. There's no sense of 'wannabe' posturing here, no Attitude-By-Numbers, or Angst on Demand - at the flick of a switch or a pedal. LDP dare to do different and cut their Angst, Attitude and Volume with just a little of what might be called soul. So are they a Hip Hop Crew or a Rock Band? A Groove Thing that rocks, or vice versa? 'Decide for yourself, make something up,' grins Ollie. 'It's not something we tend to worry about too much. We are what we are. It works for us. Anything else is a bonus'.