Vinyl LP £17.49 JNR132LP
LP on Joyful Noise (Serengeti, Son Lux, and Sufjan Stevens).
- Includes download code
CD £9.99 AKR117CD
CD on Asthmatic Kitty (Serengeti, Son Lux, and Sufjan Stevens).
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This surprise collaboration between sweet-voiced indie minstrel Sufjan Stevens, and Anticon types Son Lux and Serengeti often sounds like a choir boy trying to hang out with some tough hip hop dudes.
Some great stuff comes later but it has to be said it doesn’t start well, ‘Calm It Down’ sounds like one of those rap videos made to help troubled teens and therefore not a million miles away from the Grange Hill’ ‘Just Say No’ campaign. Out of absolutely nowhere though comes ‘Take Me’. Now, if I were in church and Stevens was up there on the podium trying to convert a non-believing congregation through the medium of song then I think I might just lay myself down at his feet with this one. With Stevens there is the usual religious overtones running through it but the way his voice is effected by weird backwards reverbs coupled with his heart-on-sleeve lyrics is just stunningly beautiful - akin to being smothered in hugs.
Elsewhere ‘Rhythm of Devotion’ is a much more successful stab at emotional hip-hop with simple 80’s beats and fairlight synths building as the voice gets increasingly angry culminating in some nice ‘87 synth stabs, all distorted and shit. In comes Stevens and like Nick Drake guesting on an Eminem record, he barely sounds like the same species as the main protagonist. The album continues in this vein - experimental Anticon-like back pack hip hop with Stevens sudden and often glorious interjections. ‘Lion’s Share’ is the potential hit - with some funky guitar and a nice chorus - Stevens' (of course) gorgeous falsetto adding a touch of class.
‘Hardly Hanging On’ is an electronic take one one of Sufjan's glorious earlier hymnal folk songs whilst closer ‘Alcohol’ represents the best of the hip-hop side of the record with scattershot vocal delivery and an insidious metronomic pulse. Not, I presume, to be taken completely seriously but I found lots to enjoy here.
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