by LUKE BAUMGARTEN AND ANDREW MATSON & r &
Our Earthly Pleasures
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & C & lt;/span & rap, man, when did Maximo Park start sounding like a Mancunese take on the Gin Blossoms at their most insipid (a benchmark damn near the apex of insipid, Congratulations, I'm Sorry notwithstanding)? I thought these guys were a neo-wave (post-wave, whatever) band. They are, of course. This album, though, is the genre at its most derivative. Intermixing that Gin Blossoms fixation is just confusing.
The synths are sparse and jarring. They appear largely at the latter half of the album and subsequently annoy the hell out of me. Why this grates so horribly and other synth-heavy wave bands (Flee the Century & amp; the Yokohama Hooks locally, for example) don't is a difference between mimicry and extrapolation. This would fit nicely anywhere from the mid-'80s to mid-'90s without needing much explanation. It's old-sounding, in short, and not in a good way.
-- LUKE BAUMGARTEN
DOWNLOAD: "Girls Who Play Guitars"
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & D & lt;/span & yme Def is three South Seattle/Renton-area emcees (S.E.V., Fearce Villain, Brainstorm) and one local production legend (BeanOne). Listening to its debut LP is like speeding in a luxury car. BeanOne is a beat chameleon (club bangers, street anthems and traditionalist jams), and his multi-tasking does Space Music a huge favor, branding it with thoughtful intro/outro/skit segments, at once mythologizing the emcees and rendering the LP a single, coherent statement.
The emcees outfit BeanOne's German engineering with a sneering, obnoxious splash of Italian design. Skilled in the art of arrogance, Dyme Def is all about explaining and maintaining its swagger, an unapologetic attitude of superiority. It would be stupid if they weren't clever and energetic, but all three emcees slip uncommon wit into their hyped-up deliveries. Prominently featuring samples from Jay-Z, EPMD, Kurtis Blow and, um, the Beatles, Space Music's message is clear: Dyme Def is placing itself among the stars, daring you to call its bluff.
-- ANDREW MATSON
DOWNLOAD: "I Ain't No"