Review : Grieves - Together/Apart
PitchforkGrieves seems like a good dude, if a pretty intense and single-minded one. He reminds me of an aged-out, nomadic skate rat who posts up in a downtown coffeeshop to scribble poetry about the 10 lives it feels like he's lived so far. He's not a pseudo-intellectual, and while he's been through some shit, he's also not a whiner, preferring to be positive about his future, occasionally almost to a fault. He is far from content with his station in life, but he balances his complaints and worries with a reflective and forward-moving worldview, a methodology that Rhymesayers MCs (and the hardcore punks who preceded them) have mastered, ensuring that the smallish number of people who like them will really like them. As for bystanders like me? I wish him the best, but could I get some breathing room, please?
Grieves asks us to serve as his casual confidants on Together/Apart. He dwells on the down-to-earth drudgery of being broke, kicking addictions, and getting over ex-girlfriends (On "Heartbreak Hotel" he describes one of them as "the scalpel to open up my doubtful," which... wow); all of which makes for an interesting fit with the pop savvy and light colors of Budo's production work. Grieves is more than game to match his collaborator's slick, itchy Okayplayerisms, switching between rapping and singing as his partner stacks up the soul chords and funk flourishes. Over Budo's double-timed synth squirts for "On the Rocks", he switches to a laconic drawl reminiscent of Bay Area backpack OG duo Latyrx; on "Boogie Man", he more closely recalls the intense confessionalism of labelmate Slug on the spare verses, before the chorus expands into a more gelled-up rap-rock hybrid....full text
HiphopdxA few years back critics attempted to box rappers who dropped a 16 about relationship problems or mental distress under the label “Emo Rap.” While well-intentioned, the term vastly undermined the significance of their music, with acts like Atmosphere and Cage connecting with fans on an intimate level that went beyond double entendre metaphors. Grieves makes this same presence felt on his latest effort Together/Apart, an album that caters to the broken and weary.
For those unaware of the 27-year-old’s earlier years, the emcee fills in all the key details with the album-opening “Lightspeed.” Over somber piano keys Grieves delves into his childhood affinity for pogs and tomagatchi’s, getting caught up in drugs and finding salvation through music. The record “Heartbreak Hotel” best displays his balance of vocal crooning and rapping as he examines a relationship gone sour while a dampened melody sets the mood. With that said, Together/Apart is not all gloom and doom. “Against The Bottom” is one of the lighter moments, with Grieves seeing the upside in the uncertainties of life....full text
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