Album Reviews

Beautiful Eulogy

Instruments of Mercy

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The super group(ish) trio of heavenly hip-hop emcees Braile, Odd Thomas and Courtland Urbano’s second long-player is alt like crazy. (Think “Why?” after absorbing a library of systematic theology textbooks.) It has musical textures to draw heads deep in their given genre, as well as neo-folkies and aficionados of downtempo EDM.

Sharp and heady both sonically and verbally, the similarity in their voices makes it something akin to how all three guys on Glenn Beck’s radio show can almost be mistaken for each other, still while possessed of their own personalities (that’s no endorsement of Beck’s spirituality, b.t.w.). In terms of Beautiful Eulogy’s mix of propaganda (or, more fittingly, proselytization?) and first-hand personal passion matched to unorthodoxly beat-drivenness, it mirrors Michael Franti in his Disposable Heroes of Hip-Hoprisy (or early Spearhead mode) if he was a Christian and merely inclined to dis’ them.

Amid a nigh wholly satisfying 14 tracks, they even manage to better Eminem at his “Stan” plan of matching penetrating rhymes to soaring female choruses. And they venture to reinvent hip-house, albeit in a more glitchy manner. Instruments Of Mercry manages the tricky triptych of doctrinal/theological incisiveness, inventive musical engagement and, were this a better world, a left-field pop sensibility that could allow these fellas share pop radio time with Jay-Z and Flo Rida while shaming them with intelligent spitting. In this worse worse world, though, it’s awesome to have them around doing what they do — for whom they do it.

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Jamie Lee Rake

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