Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The Internet's purple naked ladies. That's a phrase I would never have thought myself uttering upon these pages, and yet here we are. As the latest album from alternative hip hop collective Odd Future however, this eponym shouldn't come as much of a surprise. After a pretty abominable effort from Tyler, the Creator, a man who shredded my faith in Odd Future with 'Goblin', I'll admit I didn't lose sleep over 'Purple Naked Ladies'. A fourteen track debut, what excited me about it was the obscurity of its creators. The Internet are Syd Tha Kid and Matt Martians, two of the less well-known members of Odd Future. I hoped with all my heart my love for the Californian collective could be pulled away from the edge by this duo and that my anticipation for something fresh, new and hope-salvaging could be fulfilled! A teary plea for something different ensued from this initially confident set of ideologies, but what I found when I pressed play was a set of tracks I'd more or less heard before. Queue break-down. Matt Martians is half of another Odd Future outfit, The Jet Age of Tomorrow, and in many ways I feel as though 'Purple Naked Ladies' is just a re-run of those sounds. I listened again and again, and what I heard was the lazy amalgamation of soul and hip hop and electronica, the same formula The Jet Age of Tomorrow have covered on two albums already. The resulting record is bland and boring and lacking in any form of hook. It's just a cluttered mess of sounds, neo-soul clashing with jazz, clashing with hip hop. It aspires to greatness, but never quite gets off the starting line. As debuts go, this one is just a failure.
There are a few numbers here that make listening to the album worthwhile, but in their rarity they don't succeed in retrieving any scrap of replayability that could have been had. Their position in the record also factors in. As the concluding three tracks, they arrive far too late to have any real meaning. If I had been listening through 'Purple Naked Ladies' of my own accord, rather than for a review, I doubt I would have gotten that far down the line without spamming the fast forward button in vain. 'Fastlane' is the first of the three. It hits a chilled out and soulful level that others songs fall short of, and while an echoy sensibility irritates the ears, a defined beat and purposeful air make it relatively wonderful. Syd's soft and soothing vocals relay pretty engaging lyricism too, which is a sheer contrast to 'Violet Nude Women'. The opener to the album, it's atmospheric ethos and patronising singing fall into more of a rut than a groove, and feel more empty than spacey. Lazily constructed, it just doesn't click with me. Some of the beats you can find from The Internet are terrible, but in their defence there are a lot of buried techniques and complexities within them that only become apparent on repeated listen. I think The Internet's problem is that they can't pull in the listeners to do so. Overall, I wasn't impressed by 'Purple Naked Ladies', but on consideration I reckon that with a bit of refinement and compass-righting, The Internet can walk down their chosen path without bumbling about in the undergrowth either side. Hear 'Fastlane' down below, and if you like what enters your ears, find the full album over here!