Review Summary: Sole says what he has to say and has a lot of fun doing it.
For many years, the anticon record label has been straddling the fence between quality absurdist hip-hop and complete bull***. I mean, when listening to their major releases such as cLOUDDEAD
’s self-titled or Deep Puddle Dynamics
’ The Taste of Rain... Why Kneel
they either come across as transcendental, eye-opening experiences or a bunch of mouth breather, white dudes blathering about nothing. However, that in and of itself is something to revel in; the pure subjectivity of it and how it can be interpreted in innumerable ways. Beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder. On Sole’s album Selling Live Water
, he finds that happy medium that is intellectual enough to appreciate, but down to Earth enough to get a grasp on.
Sole has a lot to say. Every song is a wordy, personal manifesto written in a stream of consciousness fashion. Despite this, he rarely beats around the bush with silly, nonsensical tangents that the aniticon collective are so notorious for. However, that’s not to say that he’s not adventurous with this lyrics, but the beauty of it is that he doesn’t sacrifice a focused theme to achieve this. Each song has something to say but Sole has such a way with metaphors and absurdist word-smithing that each message takes its own unique journey to tell it. Sole may appear to use smoke and mirrors but as long as a message is portrayed and something is instilled, the smoke and mirrors only make it that much more enjoyable.
The production of the album is almost as adventurous as the lyrics. Throughout the album there are hairpin turns such as random the break beat sections in “Da Baddest Poet” or a mishmash of off the wall beats in “Pawn in the Game, Pt. 1”. Using a variety of instruments and styles (compare the piano balled of “Teepee on a Highway Blues” to the Boards of Canada
style ambiance of “Shoot the Messenger”), the production more than adequately does its job: keeps our head into the album. And that is really how this album shines. It takes many detours and back roads to show off some complexity, but it knows where to stop and not get caught up in its own ridiculousness. It’s smart enough to make the listener think, but laidback enough to be friendly to all crowds and situations.