Wednesday, April 7, 2010

True Live - Found Lost


True Live are one of those bands who come along every now and then who have impeccable, pedigree'd musicians, great songwriting skills and clever lyrics.  They're also reputedly a kick-arse live act, although I haven't seen them.  Found Lost is their second album after 2006's The Shape Of It.  This album sees them continue with their unique style, a combination of jazz-flavoured beats, live strings and a MC who can actually sing too.

Combining jazz and hip hop isn't new.  In fact, Mine has collected a lot of the Rebirth Of Cool series (we will get to these in our compilation reviews, I imagine) which heavily relies on this form for its content.  But in True Live's case, as their name suggests, there is no DJ backing the sound with samples.  Everything you hear is recorded by the band.  And in the hip hop genre, this is a rarity.

The best thing about this album is its complete lack of the typical 'skip-hop' MCing so prevalent in much of Australia's hip hop.  Not only is it a nice change but it actually sounds more real, for real.



OK, here's where the differences between us rear up again.  I listened to True Live without knowing anything about them - and what follows is the review I wrote in my head while driving home:

I suppose this is a hip-hop album, but the music shifts styles so often it's kind of hard to put it in any genre - unless there's a genre called Bad.  Uninteresting lyrics sung and/or rapped unintelligibly over overblown and/or unnecessary orchestration, mixed poorly.  And somebody gave these people a record deal?
So now I know more about the band, I guess I can be a bit more relaxed about the orchestration - as it's intentional.  But I don't see that it works.  Long piano or violin intros and outros I find frankly boring, plus they jar with the mood of the songs, which are generally more frenetic.  It's like flute solos at the end of punk songs - confusing at best and irritating at worst.

Plus YourZ and Mine(self) had an argument about the mix. (YourZ sez: argument shmargument - it was a discussion of the gentlest kind; Mine voiced her opinion and I said she was wrong.  At least, this is how I remember it hehehehe...)  I've gone back and listened to some album tracks several times, in the car, back-to-back with other bass-heavy songs from other artists, and I can only say - there is distortion in the bass.  Maybe it's intentional.  If it is, in my opinion it doesn't work and only serves to make me not want to listen to the songs.

The only thing I can find to be positive about is - at least the guy can sing.


For more information:

In our collection, we also have The Shape Of It

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