Album Review: Random Recipe, Kill the Hook (2013, BONSOUND)

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Three years after the acclaimed Fold It! Mold It!, Montreal quartet Random Recipe return with Kill the Hook, a second full-length that refines and improves on that album’s inventive blend of rock, hip-hop, folk, soul and electro in almost every way, with often spectacular results. While mentioning rock and hip-hop in the same sentence could conjure up memories of some of the worst music ever recorded, as anyone who survived the late 1990s can attest, Random Recipe have come up with an engrossing, addictive sound that recalls and updates the genre-hopping, kitchen-sink pop of Bran Van 3000, Moloko or–most of all–Imani Coppola’s unjustly forgotten and underrated debut.

On the striking “Hamburg”, Fab’s singsongy rap verses contrast sharply with Frannie Holder’s gentle vocal and the eerie, postmillennial indie rock instrumental backing provided by Vincent Legault and Liu-Kong Ha. “Dimples”, with its cheap analog synth hooks and bouncy playground rhymes, kicks the tempo up a notch and is followed by first single “Big Girl”, whose huge, sugary-sweet chorus bursts out of the speakers and rivals The Go! Team’s catchiest moments. Both are early album highlights, but it is on a trio of tracks on the second half of the album that Random Recipe’s eclectic fusion fully takes shape. On “Beautiful Connection” the different ingredients come together in dramatic, dazzling crescendo featuring Fab’s beatboxing, spooky operatic backing vocals and Holder’s moving voice. This is followed by “Sultan”, an urgent storm of nervous beats, anguished vocals and multilingual rapping courtesy of Fab and Japan’s UHNELLYS that somehow is also one of the album’s most irresistibly danceable moments. “Joy” begins with a simple, spare arrangement that once again alternates between Holder’s sung verses and Fab’s raps, then adds disorienting layers of steel drums, guitars, Fab’s playful “tack tagadagada” hook and choir-like male vocals.

Kill the Hook does not always hit the mark–Houston rapper Fat Tony’s lusty guest verse on the too-brief, underdeveloped “Traffic” in particular feels like a missed opportunity–but there’s more than enough here to suggest a group that has firmly found its footing and is just beginning to explore its boundless potential.

You can watch the video for “Big Girl” below and stream the full album on Random Recipe’s Bandcamp page. You can also check out my review of Rouyn-Noranda’s Festival de la musique émergente where they played a secret show for TFO’s BRBR.

 

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Posted on by Thierry Cote in Albums, Music

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