It's been a while. I've been doing stuff. Not fun stuff. School has started back up, so I'll be listening to a lot more academic music for the next few months. But before I get too heavy into that I wanted to put up this review.
I've been sitting on this review for a while. Not only due to my strained time schedule, but because I wanted to be able to say something meaningful about Songs Fo Da Def. There is quite a lot to the album, and trying to oversimplify what is going on would discredit the hard work Richard Def and the Mos Pryors put forward. Although, when I think on what this whole blog is about I'm already guilty of that.
I'll skip the whole band history introduction this round. Mostly because I have no a priori knowledge of the band. I assume this is their first release.
The opening track, "First Blood", is an energetic start to the album. One of the qualities I really like about this track is the melodic development over the song. Twisting the main guitar riff into different ways and fitting it in to the song certainly helps to make it catchy. I can also appreciate a section of diminished chord use (think cliffhanger tags a la Rocky and Bullwinkle), as it rarely makes its way into current popular music usage.
Flowing into "Palpagomic Deets", we get a brief cool down in a laid back, yet still energetic song. While I initially thought the use of vocal doubling was just to add beefiness to the first two track, it appears to permeate the album. Further into the album on "Opposable Thumbs", there's a great section of vocal harmony which makes me want to see this performed live. The lack of perceivable auto tune on the album gives me great satisfaction. The vocals aren't 100% dead on in tune, but the human factor that is added through throwing auto tune to the side has a way of restoring your faith in the future of musical integrity. I'll take close over computer any day.
The album is rather short. Most of the songs clock in around 2-3 minutes except for the last track, "See-Saws". As the last track on the album, it certainly has the most melodic material. I suppose that falls in line with what is supposed to happen on an album, unless you did your big song the track before and wrote a codetta sort of thing. While it isn't as melodically connected as the other songs on the album, it works with the lyrics being the glue that holds "See-Saws" together. This observation seems to be grasping at straws, though. Basically, I'm just saying something because if I wrote, "This song is good", I would have had one sentence in the paragraph.
Songs Fo Da Def has the typical home-brew sound to the album; not a lot of highs, not a lot of bass, and not a lot of room presence in the mix. I can't speak to if this is a mastering issue, mixing issue, or just a fact of the inexpensive studio craze that's popping up across the country. The album isn't pretty sounding, but it is pretty damn good. I'll keep my eyes peeled for a sophomore release. For now, you can listen to the entire album and buy it for $6 at the band's Band Camp website. Do yourself a favor and give it a few listens, as this review won't do it half the justice it deserves. Then give them some money so they can make some more music.