B. Dolan
Fallen House Sunken City


4.0
excellent

Review

by clavichordwolf USER (4 Reviews)
March 9th, 2010 | 27 replies | 6,927 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Fallen House, Sunken City" is the first great hip-hop record of 2010. If you like your hip-hop spiked with Armageddon vitriol, then I can't recommend this highly enough.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Let's pretend for a moment that you've just recorded an album written from the perspective of the last surviving person on Earth: a lo-fi series of raps, poems, oddball reminiscences and assorted ravings condemning the system that mediated the fall of humanity. Where do you go from there? How do you follow the apocalypse? Well obviously, you let society rebuild itself, become repopulated with vampires, murderers and industrialists, and chastise humanity as it proceeds to devour itself yet again. Such is the way of rapper/slam poet Bernard Dolan.

Fallen House, Sunken City is an apocalyptic manifesto, not unlike El-P's Fantastic Damage, Mr. Lif's I, Phantom or even Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero. Over a series of gritty boom bap instrumentals (provided by indie beatmaker Alias), Dolan rails against capitalist greed (“50 Ways to Bleed Your Customer,” “Economy of Words”), civic indifference (“Kitchen Sink”), imperialistic expansionism (“Earthmovers,” “Border Crossing”) and the sheer inhumanity of mankind itself (“Marvin,” “Mr. Buddy Buddy”). Though not necessarily a concept album, Fallen House does unravel like a totalitarian narrative. P.O.S. and Cadence Weapon show up on the anti-authoritarian posse cut "Fall of T.R.O.Y.," but otherwise, Dolan holds down the mic by himself, tearing into the capitalist infrastructure one track after another with astounding precision.

And don't take this guy for a lyrical featherweight just because of his poetry background either--Dolan can kill a mic just as well as any battler or punchline rapper working today. In fact, Fallen House is not only a bitter state of the union address, it's also a reversion to the fundamentals of hip-hop. The beats consist of raw drum loops and piercing synths, and outside of the floating Marvin Gaye sample on "Marvin," I don't think there's any singing to be found on this album. For better or worse, it runs on virtuosic lyrical displays and hard-hitting beats. Speaking of which, Alias contributes some of the best instrumentals he's ever created, whether it's cosmic thump of "Earthmovers," the shapeshifting beat of "T.R.O.Y.," or the Funk Brothers exorcism on "Marvin." Considering that his recent work has had more in common with The Postal Service and Boards of Canada than Marley Marl and Ced Gee, I never expected him to compose a series of straight-up bangers like this, much less that he'd succeed as excellently as he does.

In fact, the only issues with this album come from Dolan himself. While several of his criticisms and observations are dead-on, he occasionally resorts to "things are ***" generalizations and slam poet profundities (read: iridescent wank) that drag down the overall quality of the album. Also, while I'm usually cool with despairing subject matter, the cynicism on this album occasionally veers into full-blown insanity. “The Reptilian Agenda,” for example, argues that the global capitalist power structure is controlled by white-collar humanoid reptilians. I don't know if this song was intended as a joke, or if Dolan is really hiding in a bunker somewhere with a loaded shotgun and a tinfoil army helmet, but it sort of damages the album's credibility.

All the same, Fallen House, Sunken City is the first great hip-hop record of 2010. If you like your hip-hop spiked Armageddon vitriol, then I can't recommend this highly enough.


user ratings (40)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
iisblackstar
March 9th 2010



431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review mate. Really liked this album. I actually really liked reptilian agenda but prob couldn't pick a favourite

Bulldog
March 9th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Damn good review. I wasn't going to listen to this, but now I definitely am. Tonight, as a matter of fact. Great job man. If this is only your second review, you should review way more often.

AggravatedYeti
March 9th 2010



7684 Comments


Man I've seen this guy so many times, not in years, but fuuuuccckkkkk, I didn't know he was still making music.

Well, I'll nab this somewhere -- hell I'll actually be able to find it in my local Providence record store :D

Bulldog
March 9th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Found it on Rhapsody. Yay

Bulldog
March 9th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Okay, starting Fall of T.R.O.Y. and this looks like a 4.5/5 or at least a 4/5.

clavichordwolf
March 9th 2010



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys. I dig Reptilian Agenda musically, but the message is a little too batshit for my tastes.

Bulldog
March 9th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This owns Plastic Beach, which has received considerably more hype.

clavichordwolf
March 9th 2010



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've only heard half of "Plastic Beach," but honestly, I'm not surprised. One's an all-star collaboration album created by one of the most renowned songwriters alive right now; the other is a bone and gristle hip-hop album released by some guy on a peon indie label (I mean seriously, I doubt that even the most hardcore Sage Francis fans can name more than two artists on the Strange Famous roster). Hypewise, they're in completely different leagues.

iisblackstar
March 9th 2010



431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah at first I thought there wasn't enough variety with the production but after a few listens felt there was just enough variety and the songs still flowed nicely into one another. Good to see this album gettin some recognition, definitely my best of the year so far.

Bulldog
March 9th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well,

Gorillaz...from...London, England
B. Dolan...from...Providence, Rhode Island.

Do the math.

Bulldog
March 10th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This review does the album justice, but I might do a review just for the sake of pushing this album's hype train along.

iisblackstar
March 10th 2010



431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sobhi said he was doin one as well im pretty sure.. but i reckon the more the merrier.. anything to spread the word

WooHa
March 10th 2010



159 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Awesome review of an awesome album. This one just made my day.

Bulldog
March 10th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Fallen House Sunken City > The Failure

But both are 4.5's.

WooHa
March 10th 2010



159 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Fallen House Sunken City > The Failure

Bulldog
March 10th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The Failure is more recited poetry, but it's still epic just for interest value.

clavichordwolf
March 10th 2010



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This one just made my day.


Thanks man.

Yeah, there are only like four or five reviews of this album on the web. Dolan could probably use all the hype he gets.

I've never actually heard The Failure before. Am I missing out?

Bulldog
March 10th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yea, it's awesome.

WooHa
March 11th 2010



159 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

In my opinion, Failure is just good... Im not a big fan of poetry :/

LeeHarveyKennedy
March 18th 2010



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gotta say, other than "Reptilian Agenda", I love this disc. I agree with what you said. As a serious piece, it's a joke; as a joke, it has no punchline.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy