|They forgot to dive away from the explosion, none survived.|
The alternate band name was: Facial Hair in Front of Fire.
So first things first, this album came out a little while ago. However, before I jump into reviews of albums coming out this year, I'm trying to get through some of my favorite albums of 2011, and releases I simply haven't gotten around to listening to.
That being said, Das Racist's last release "Sit Down, Man" has got to be one of the most listened to records in my Winamp collection. (Yeah. I don't use iTunes. Shut Up. I don't know why. Don't let it stop you from being my friend.) So I'm literally disgusted with myself at how long this was out before I first listened to it. This record starts an finishes feeling very familiar, for those that heard any of those tracks. Throughout the record there are even overt references to both Sit Down and Shut Up. "I'm at the Newcastle" anyone?
The gang is still on top of the joke rap game, and unlike some critics, when I say that I'm not mocking. I love that the genre is viable, because that means that many more fans are starting to see through the particularly transparent parts of radio hip hop. Now, although I don't mean to sound like an overly snobistic Pitchfork reviewer, I do think that this release is missing some of the edge of the previous records. However, I don't think that this is all bad, as the group has actually acknowledged that this album is intended for a wider audience. They called it a pop record publicly. The fact that it topped many well known publications' "best of 2011" lists is a testament to the fact that this approach is working.
All the popular culture criticism is still there, too. "There's a brand new dance, give us all your money" is the anthem in Brand New Dance, and is obviously mocking the recent phenomenon of dance music needing to "sell" itself as a dance. The other great part of this record is that many of the songs have become downright musical. Gone are the melancholy beats that made for a dark and dismal mood of the more serious songs. The song Power, has one of the most infectious vocal breakdowns, due in part to Despot and Danny Brown, this track really explodes off the album. Many of the songs even have traditional refrains, and choruses that stay with you after the record's over. The menagerie of producers who contributed to the album makes for the amazing variety that I've always loved from these guys.
Das Racist - Brand New Dance
My largest complaint about Relax is the GRIEVOUS overuse of that god damned high pitched vocal auto-tuned into an instrument line that appears on several tracks. It's like, we get it. How about detuning a vocal? We liked it when you did that before Das Racist. Please me Himanshu, leave that thing alone for the next record.
Final Word: 9 out of 11.