If Slightly Stoopid had “slightly” heavier leanings on Hip Hop, it would probably sound a lot like The Higher Concept. The NYC trio has released their new full-length Everything–a strong mash-up of pop rock sensibility, motivational uplifting lyrical matter and token rap and rhymes. The album packaging even gives a nod to The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s with the three MCs surrounded by modern pop culture figures while clad in the Fab Four’s token outfits. Sounds fun huh? More on that later…[youtube _uAVtXtwauk]
The album opens to title track “Everybody” and foreshadows the complexity of the tracks to come. The rap verses rest nicely over live instrumentation, much in the vein of a Gym Class Heroes track, while a flash to the chorus sounds like it could have been supplied by Michael Franti and Spearhead. “Runnin’ Away” opens to effects-laden female vocals before surrendering to a rap verse and tandem jangle/rock riff guitar. In all, the track sounds like a hard-rocking Black Eyed Peas song minus the kitsch. “Smile” opens to muted vocals and tinkling piano. Acoustic strums and verse rap lead through this “rap-laced, balladesque pop track.” “Topanga” opens to melody vocals and more jangle wah-guitar with the chorus bolstered by backing horns, showing even more of the diverse instrumentation that THC has readily available.
Much in the vein of OAR and Slightly Stoopid, THC is just a fun band making fun music. While I can see this appealing to a slightly younger fan base; it is very hard to not recognize (and appreciate) the effort and work that went into Everything. The album is technically sound without sounding overproduced and every track bears a positive, upbeat message within the lyrical subject matter. And simply put, these guys bear a clear talent for original musicality and again, making damn fun music.
by Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org[Rating: 4/5]