Review Summary: This is a standard Noise Rock album that probably wouldn't have gotten nearly as much attention (or praise) as it did had it not been for its connection to Death Grips.
I don't think anyone could discuss this album without, at some capacity, bringing up the experimental Noise/Hip Hop act Death Grips. A trio containing MC Ride, Zack Hill and Andy Morin who, in four short years, have completely flipped Hip Hop on its head. They've made many moves that would give marketers nightmares and developed a pretty strong catalog in the background. This year alone they've put out two projects, "Fashion Week" and "Jenny Death"/"Powers That B," both of which I like very much. And for the first week or so of this album's release everyone thought it may have been a third output from the group in 2015 under the new name the i.l.y's. But on June 14th Death Grips decided to remove the veil from our faces and took it to their social media accounts to say
"the i.l.y's album " i've always been good at true love " is now on itunes. zach hill- vocals, keyboards , guitar , drums , producer.
andy morin- guitar , bass , engineer."
This definitely confirmed the suspicions that, since there is a heavy lack of MC Ride on this album, this isn't a direct Death Grips side project, but rather a solo project of sorts. And I suppose it's neither a side project nor a solo project since the credits for the album show Zack and Andy having pretty split responsibilities, so we'll just say it's a collaborative project between Zack Hill and Andy Morin. To be honest this isn't even a Hip Hop LP. It's a Noise Rock album more than anything, and one that plays with many conventions of the genre. Maybe even to a fault at times.
Going into this album for the first time I was intrigued on multiple levels. Aside from all of the Death Grips pretext that came with this project's main trafficking I was surprised to see that it was so brief at only 28 minutes. The main questions I had were how long had this material been sitting on the backburner and how long ago did the creation of this project begin? And while I assume we won't get much of any detail outside of that aforementioned Death Grips post, some of the sonic directions taken in this album resemble that of The Powers That B's second disc "Jenny Death." With the strong presence of electric guitars and their distorted and thin tone carrying a very strained drone throughout the entirety of the nine song tracklist. A guitar tone that starts to bleed together pretty quickly in the album's earliest cuts, and never quite finds creative detours or significant changes in what pedals and effects were used to give it its sound. Luckily the guitars on this album never get as watered down as they did, at times, on "Jenny Death" and find more dominant competents and reason for their placement in the mix.
Zack Hill gives much more compelling performances on the percussion, keys and production side of things than he and Andy Morin do on guitar. Some of the synthetic drums that are layered throughout make for a much more, sensibly, self contained and narrow delivery on the most well realized tracks of the album. These drums synchronize well with the etherial glitch type flutters that come in and out throughout most of the project. The very timid organ chords played on the LP's closer "All She Does Is Kill ***" don't necessarily swell in the track, but they are another example of Zack's very tasteful ear for instrumentation and obsession for contrast. As you get the rest of the instruments performed very loud in an attempt to create a larger than life thematic vibe. A contrast that, unfortunately, isn't explored enough. Besides "All She Does Is Kill ***" and the opening track "The Sickest *** Of Them All" none of the songs on this album go for composing a very ambitious wall of sound or interesting song structures. Instead we get an LP of suprisingly conventional, and maybe even a little generic, Noise Rock tracks. And while these songs aren't poorly written or composed, they do end too ebruptly.
Overall I would say this a pretty standard Noise Rock album that probably wouldn't have gotten nearly as much attention (or praise) as it did had it not been for its connection to Death Grips. The project begins and ends strongly but has a middle filling of brief tracks that need much more fleshing out, but at least do enough to never let the LP fall off the rails. This certainly doesn't stack up against Death Grips' best releases, sonically or in quality, but at the same time they shouldn't be compared at all. So if your a fan of Zack Hill's past solo material and or are a curious Death Grips fan you should probably check out this album. As far as a final verdict goes this is a decent enough LP with a few shining gems.