An album review for The Weekend Australian, originally published on May 12.
Death Grips – The Money Store
By combining the ethos and aesthetics of punk-rock and electronica with hip-hop, Californian trio Death Grips have established an entirely unique sound.
On this debut album, producer Andy Morin, percussionist Zach Hill and vocalist MC Ride work largely with dark, abrasive tones which imbue the act with a menacing edge.
Much of this can be attributed to Ride, whose combative style of rapping sits high in the mix amid rolling waves of electronic percussion and a galaxy of fleeting samples, including muscle car engines (‘Hustle Bones’) and Venus Williams’s impassioned scream (‘System Blower’). Rarely is Ride’s voice unadorned: most of the time, it’s run through distortion and delay filters or looped on-the-fly to create a consistent wall of sound.
Death Grips’ experimental style sits so far outside mainstream hip-hop that they’ll be easily dismissed by most. The rewards for those with patience are significant, though: The Money Store is the musical equivalent of randomly surfing the internet while wired on caffeine.
The three discover interesting sounds, stretch them out of shape, mash them into three-minute shocks of beautiful dissonance, then discard them. The album’s 13 songs each contain distinctive moods and themes.
From the sinister lyrics of album closer ‘Hacker’ (“I’m in your area / I know the first three numbers”) to the overdriven guitars in ‘I’ve Seen Footage’, there’s never a dull moment. Highly recommended.
LABEL: Epic Records
RATING: 4 stars