The second part of my little series of short and concise reviews of albums I didn’t get a chance to review last month continuing with Hip-Hop duo PRhyme and Finnish electronic duo Redder.
PRhyme – PRhyme
DJ Premier and Royce da 5’9″ come together as the hip-hop duo PRhyme for a nice little album consisting of songs very reminiscent of the Hip-Hop that DJ Premier was producing in the early noughties with the boom-bap style of instrumentals. Even though this album is a mere nine tracks long, it’s got a guest list that features many great rappers such as Killer Mike, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Common and Jay Electronica.
It’s a shock that it’s taken so long for this pair to team up and make a record because seriously, they’re a match made in heaven. Royce is often overshadowed by the fact that he’s best buddies with Eminem, but always has so much to offer as an MC and this record will really make people appreciate that. The wordplay all over PRhyme is fantastic and often hilarious, with him often finding ways to sound like he is truly at the forefront of the music even when there are so many guest spots. All of the guests on here raise the bar or at least meet the expectations you’d have, with even Mac Miller delivering a verse that’s pretty decent.
It seems that these two do bring out the best in each other, and while this album is by no means anything new or original for Hip-Hop (and there are in fact times when I wish they’d do something a bit more interesting in their topics); it’s a celebration of the way that a producer and an MC can work together to put together an album with more great punch lines than you can wave a stick at.
Redder – Walk Long Play
Redder are a Finnish electronic duo hailing from Finland and this is their debut full length album together. Redder’s influences can be easily tracked to bands such as Radiohead, The Antlers and Alt-J but unlike any of those groups Redder’s sound has a lot more of an airy and ambient sound at times.
A lot of these songs are built upon very sparse drum machine beat and reverb soaked instrumentation, but unlike many who use reverb as a tool to cover up how uninteresting their instrumentation is, the reverb is used gently and as a tool to enhance the delicate sound they already have. The instrumentation is vast on this album but never quite throws itself at your face, it tries to seduce you slyly instead.
The atmosphere brought on by the instrumentation is definitely enhanced by the vocals which are where the comparisons to Radiohead and The Antlers are coming from. The vocals are passionate and delicate, and nearly always in falsetto. They’re certainly used more as an instrument rather than a tool to deliver lyrics, which really works in adding atmospherics but as a result is detrimental to the emotional impact of the album. There is a definite sense that Redder attempted to deliver an album which captures the darker side of life in Finland, it just sometimes fails in the execution. The lyrics for the most part are very solid and heartfelt but somehow making the connection with the audience gets lost along the way. This album would have benefitted from adding a slice more melody into some of the tracks, because this is where the album works best like the track ‘Let Us Get Out’ which is a dark and beautiful track both able to capture that atmosphere that Redder have mastered and the emotional impact that the need and want.
For a debut album, this album is certainly a master-class in atmosphere and production. They’re talented musicians with mountains of potential, and they have all of the ingredients to make a fantastic record. They just need to find that balance where they’re able to provide that darker sound in a way that isn’t detrimental towards the emotional impact and the depth of their song writing. If they can nail that, I predict a bright future for these guys.