Review: Latyrx – The Second Album
Published on November 6th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
The futuristically minimalist production of Latryx’s classic 1997 debut The Album feels somehow decades away in both directions on their no-less-perfunctorily-titled second album The Second Album.
Experimentalism remains a key feature but adheres to a bolder backdrop more discernably in the here and now, much as Quannum buddies Blackalicious shed the sepia-tinted jazz samples of Nia for the technicolour spread of Blazing Arrow.
While not without a sense of fun, The Second Album still courses with the righteous anger that’s always bubbled up through the progressive, highly literate flows of constituent pair Lateef the Truthspeaker and Lyrics Born.
As ever, Lyrics Born takes the more showstopping twists and turns – witness for example his robotic delivery on “It’s Time”, as an electronic bass gurgles away, er, Antipop Consortium-ishly – but Lateef’s abrasively Eminem-esque sneer proves disarmingly versatile, as evidenced on the ruminant reminiscence of “Sometimes Why?”.
The increased emphasis on musicality might have taken the onus off our MCs, so it’s a relief to report that our heroes’ rhymes remain exhilaratingly incessant throughout the lovely tinkly piano motif of “Exclamation Point”, the dramatic orchestration of the social-media-examining “The Power of Rumor (Leonard is Lost)” and the sophisticated progressions of the aforementioned “Sometimes Why?”.
“Deliberate Jibberish” is particularly astounding, played out as it is across a kind of huffing backing vocal pattern that sounds a bit like a freaked-out Ladysmith Black Mambazo. “Watershed Moment” is aptly titled for its own standout status, ensured in part by the unmistakable presence of Rocksucker’s 2011 Album of the Year winner Tune-Yards and a brilliantly ebbing and flowing interjection from Gift of Gab.
Final track “Gorgeous Spirits” is just bizarre, like Beastie Boys meets Neptunes but more intentionally aggravating than either. It’s been many years since Latyrx laid out their “8 Point Agenda”, but they haven’t forgotten what it takes to shake us out of our torpor.
The Second Album is out now on Latyramid.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!