Review : Eyedea & Abilities - By The Throat
SputnikmusicBy The Throat is an apposite example of psuedo-art in music, begging any semblance of emotive reaction from listeners new and old alike. Whether it's the anachronistic production standards suggesting a rap-rock resurgence and Tom Morello plagiarism or the relatively ineffective, anticon imitation delivery, Eyedea & Abilities' third studio record is an epic failure. Considering the foundation of a promising career put forth on First Born and improved upon with E & A, the time is especially ripe following the footsteps of fellow Minnesotan P.O.S.'s acclaimed Never Better. Frustrating in approach, the duo flushes all of this possibility down a toilet lined especially with Mike Larsen's pedestrian guitar riffing and ridiculous, nasally whine. And while still following a general narrative structure (as in all previous releases), it's completely puzzling as to why his trademark rapid-fire, verbose wordplay is missing here (sans "Junk") - instead opting for content generally orbiting an adolescent's understanding of guns, power, love, war, philosophy, and (surprisingly enough) basic poetic rhyme schemes, too.
In fact, it's puzzling as to why nearly every facet of what made this duo interesting is missing: from battle-rap sensibilities to DJ Abilities' staggering technical acuity on the tables, By The Throat veers dangerously away from their roots for such a chronologically important release. E & A was a fun and memorable record; while lacking the extravagance of superior records, it's truly difficult for such a release to stand the test of time - a testament to the duo's apparent chemistry in 2004 and unique, artless sound. Sporting grunge-hop flannels, they've constructed not only something completely generic, but have genuinely alienated their fan-base. Not much is worth listening to here; the record's second half saves the abysmal first, yet never approaches the greatness they're capable of... with the possible exception of "This Story." Oliver Hart, drop your backpack and do what you do best....full text
StrangeglueThough the mainstream is becoming increasingly more interested and open to alternative music and bands, it's still clear that an underground movement is in full-swing. Sure Flying Lotus blew up bigger than an atom bomb with his sweaty, west-coast experimental hip-hop incarnations but there's plenty of others just like him - perhaps even more talented - who are ready to explode (metaphorically) with potential.
Eyedea And Abilities rest oddly between the aforementioned opposing underground and mainstream divisions and though it's clear some of their music could easily do well commercially, it's still pretty deep, pretty intelligent alt-rap.
Nasty, lo-fi bass drums pump in the background as atmospheric electronica adds further layers on top. Witty, rough lyricism hops, skips and jumps all over the music, demanding your attention but never drowning out the rhythm. It works exceedingly well in short bursts and the duo seem to have noticed this as they never let a track outstay its welcome while managing to astound by fitting eleven fully fleshed songs into just under thirty minutes. Time Flies When You Have A Gun doesn't even reach two full minutes but it's still a wildly entertaining explosion of rocker-ghetto contradiction. "Paranoia kept in cliché, he kept imagining tragedy as if it was inevitable. Trying to prepare himself for how he'd feel if he ever had to steal a life to save a loved one." For just a short track that's seemingly about safety at home, the enjoyment factor is welcomingly high.....full text
PrefixmagBy the Throat is the third release from the MC/DJ pair of Eyedea (Mike Averill) and Abilities (Gregory Keltgen). Since their rap battle days (they won Scribble Jam, Rocksteady, and the Blaze Battle in the late '90s) they've been expanding their sonic palette, and this effort is a further evolution from 2004's E&A. Abilities uses sounds ranging from rock'n'roll guitars to his trademark turntable work, and Eyedea's lyrics are as various as ever. In addition to rhyming about loss and addiction, topics as esoteric as neuroscience and quantum physics are addressed....full text
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