2econd Class Citizen – The Small Minority (Equinox/Fake Four)
By Princess Stomper
Well, that was weird. Unsolicited email from band I’ve never heard of, linking me to their new album. Apparently DJ Food likes it, and I liked the last DJ Food release, so … (Wait: 2econd Class Citizen was on DJ Food’s last release, you muppet. You played that thing to death – did you never look at the credits?)
Yeah. This is odd. The email goes on about samples but I quickly forget I’m listening to electronic music. It’s warm. Meditative. Acoustic guitars, dreamy vocal snippets and vibrant hi-hats float over languid basslines like waves on a deserted beach.
Though the first three songs are fine, ‘Stop To Wonder’ is arrestingly good. Complex breaks jolt you out of your stupor to declare: this album is something special. Sound bounces around in the mix, filling up every available space. It takes many listens to sift through it all as strings and piano vie with scattered vocals for your attention. If a satisfying album layers up noises so that you hear something new every time you play it, there’s enough here to keep you occupied for months. It’s certainly the finest album of its type I’ve heard since Amon Tobin’s ISAM.
I’d concur with the DJ Shadow comparison in the blurb. It’s self-consciously beautiful in the same way that Zhang Yimou’s Hero is beautiful. ‘Liberated Lady’ starts off sounding like 60s pop before taking a turn for 70s funk. It still sounds like something you should be listening to by the pool while sipping a cocktail.
The only downside of such an album is that because it has only one mood throughout – gentle melancholia – you do have to be in the right mood to listen to it. Well, that’s true until ‘Stay With Me’, which almost sounds like Battles or Cardiacs, and is bewilderingly placed as the 13th track. (Battles on ketamine, anyway.) That said, regardless of what mood I’ve been in lately I’ve wanted to listen to some of it almost every day, even if I’ve not made it all the way through.
It feels like watching the rain through a window. It makes the back of my neck prickle. I think you’ll like it.