Flobots
Noenemies


4.0
excellent

Review

by BandanaGeorge USER (12 Reviews)
May 5th, 2017 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Flobots make a triumphant return, delivering a beautiful, thought evoking hour of soulful hip hop.

Flobots are a 3 piece hip hop group from Denver, Colorado. You may not be familiar with their name, but if you weren't living under a rock in 2007, you definitely know at least one of their songs. The ubiquitous 'Handlebars' was a massive track throughout the mid to late 2000s and I would wager that if you went back to it now you would recognize it the second the hook came in, and probably get a bit nostalgic too. I'll be honest, Flobots are undoubtedly one of my favourite bands of all time, I've been a fan for over a decade, I feel they don't get the attention they deserve, and I am most likely exceptionally biased, but I'll do my best to rate this album objectively.

One thing to take note of is that Flobots have and likely always will be heavily political, and whilst that's something that really sells them for me, I would like to keep this free of politics, as we're all well aware what kind of discussion that can breed.

It's very apparent that this album is a departure from the bands previous approach to writing instrumentals. On previous releases Flobots tracks featured a full band, with guitars, drums, a viola and on their early work, a trumpet. Whilst the bones of this formula are present, as well as the viola, the instrumentals here are more conventionally hip hop. There are still plenty of real instruments being played, giving the record a very organic sound, but its a definite shift from their previous releases. This album is noticeably darker in tone overall than their previous works. The music is far less high energy, and often very low key and mellow, with the exception of tracks like 'Carousel' and 'Dancing in the Light of a Burning City'. With that being said, I adore the instrumentals on this, the bass is perfectly mixed, the drums are subtle and spacious which creates a massive impact on the mood, and the viola work of Mackenzie Gault alongside a string quartet is incredibly evocative and does so much for these tracks whilst remaining a beautifully nuanced addition. Possibly my favourite moment instrumentally on here is the jazzy and oh so smooth saxophone solo during 'American Dreams', with special mention to the bass line in 'Voices of the Dead'.

Flobots have always produced some of the best lyrics in hip hop in my opinion. The group features two emcees, Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit, who are just geniuses in their own right. Whilst I find they shine more on the bands past releases, the lyrics here are still very strong, and compliment the more serious tone of the album. This record as always is very topical, and in such a tense political climate, Flobots are in their element. This album covers all bases, it's insightful, angry, passionate, unrelenting, hopeful, at times witty, and always on the nose. Something particularly special about this record is the use of Sacred Harp style group singing, particularly present in Pray which features a reimagined sampling of 'Antioch'. There are some fantastic flows throughout, probably some of the strongest the pair have ever recorded, typically delivered in powerful and emotional cadence.

What I find so charming about Flobots is that they're not celebrities or rockstars, they're normal people with a passion and a message, and I personally have a lot of time for that. The band are consistently impressive, and as a long time fan, I find this album a great stride forward, and well worth the wait between releases. For all it's shifts and turns from the band's past material, this is a fantastically uplifting and contemplative hour of hip hop. If you're passionate about political and contemporary matters, this record will resonate with you. I strongly recommend listening to their previous releases if you like this too, this band are a diamond in the rough. Despite their one off dash of commercial success, they are by no means a one hit wonder group. Listen to this record, support this band.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Supercoolguy64
May 4th 2017


8055 Comments


me and my friend saw a patypus

Ryus
May 4th 2017


15593 Comments


lol

Digging: DJ Richard - Path of Ruin

VaxXi
May 4th 2017


4135 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

where the fuck did this come from

VaxXi
May 5th 2017


4135 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is actually the first good thing they've made in their entire career, wow.

BandanaGeorge
May 5th 2017


42 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I honestly rate everything they've ever done, but this is definitely their most consistently good record.

DatsNotDaMetulz
May 5th 2017


3365 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Only know Handlebars but giving this a shot. It's off to a good start. Will come back later with my overall rating.

MoeWigglebottom
May 5th 2017


64 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

meh

Sinternet
May 5th 2017


14836 Comments


probs sucks but fight with tools was a jam back in the day

MoeWigglebottom
May 5th 2017


64 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

never liked these guys much fight with tools was alright i suppose

Ebola
May 6th 2017


2868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like this a lot. Fight Like Tools is great as well.

Ebola
May 6th 2017


2868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd say this is more diverse, better-produced, and more consistently good than Tools, but lacks its timelessness and Bush-era rage.

Respawn
May 7th 2017


28 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album art looks straight out of an indie game

BandanaGeorge
May 7th 2017


42 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The artwork really reminds me of the iron giant lol. Fight With Tools is a classic imo, some of the moments on there are to this day unlike anything I've ever heard, plus Jonny 5s lyricism was just outrageously clever on it.

LethalPaintball
May 8th 2017


727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i didnt even know this existed until yesterday

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

JasonCarne
May 11th 2017


868 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Artwork rules, everything else sucks.

SnakeDelilah
May 17th 2017


19928 Comments


https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/18557116_673903039485195_1632022474442324856_n.jpg?oh=e81d8d2d1d20fe994abd0de63a80cde8&oe=59B2C913

Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights



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