Monday, April 16, 2012

Death Grips - The Money Store

The Money Store is Death Grips' (technically first) full-length slated to come out this month. Apparently Exmilitary was just a mixtape but I didn't recognize any borrowed beats or raps, so whatever.

On first listen, it's easy to see that The Money Store is not Exmilitary. The aggression of Burnett's voice has been mitigated by noisier beats and more mellowed out melodies. It's not all gone, but by and large the hooks on here are family-friendly in comparison to the sharp vitriol of Exmilitary. You still get it in spurts though. After the interesting introduction "Get Got," roiler "The Fever (Aye Aye)" features racy lyrics about cocaine and sugar, lyrically alluding to them like they're diamonds. The track relies extensively on the hook, as do other great tracks like "The Cage," noise-and-drum-driven "I've Seen Footage," and electro-dance closer "Hacker." I'm totally fine with this. It's not like Exmilitary wasn't hook-driven, but I feel like some of the extra substance is missing on The Money Store.

Less lo-fi but more bare bones, Zach Hill's producing on here is hit or miss. The beats are of higher quality and feature more melodies, as well as more unwavering dance rhythms. It makes The Money Store feel more groove-oriented and predictable than it's predecessor, which often meandered but never wavered from it's empowering, gut-driven expressions. Some of the more low-key tracks like "Double Helix" and "Punk Weight" are a bit boring and let the noise wash over the anger, dulling the sharp edge of the vocal tracks. There's also a touch of industrial on here, popping up occasionally to add texture to the myriad beats.

There are times where the new approach does work well on The Money Store. In particular "Hustle Bones" is a great track in this style that combines a groovy vocal track with a repetitive melody. The vocals are prominent and aggro-filled, making the track one of the more fun on the album. As I mentioned earlier though, the many repetitions on The Money Store make it feel a bit more predictable. The dominant drumming by Zach Hill on certain tracks adds to that. His drumwork on The Money Store is very consistent as opposed to sporadic, and he does do a great job playing in this style (as he tends to do with every style; listen to Hella). I think one of his more spontaneous moments is on "Double Helix," but sadly the diminished vocal presence makes it feel forgettable. I just preferred the previous album's (er mixtapes') style to this one, and maybe that's why I didn't enjoy it nearly as much.

5.75 out of 10


1. Get Got 
2. The Fever (Aye Aye)
3. Lost Boys
4. Blackjack 
6. I've Seen Footage 
7. Double Helix 
8. System Blower 
9. The Cage 
10. Punk Weight 
11. Fuck That 
12. Bitch Please 
13. Hacker 


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