Friday, May 23, 2008

Quick Hitters:: Metermaids

"It's Hip Hop, it's Rock, It's funk, it's fun." Reading such a description about an album I've been sent to review elicits two words from me "Uh oh". It's nothing to do with the specific album or artist, it's just these days lots of people are trying to make the avant garde hip hop/rock mix, and often things don't turn out well. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I listened to the album from the group about which that quote refers: Nightlife by NYC's Metermaids.

Well, a few songs in to the album, it's clear that Metermaids have the recipe to combat my golden-age hip hop reviewer guy cynicism: fun, energetic songs with shout-along choruses and solid production that leans heavily on live instrumentation. This isn't the kind of hip hop I would seek out, but that certainly doesn't mean I can't recognize the fact that it's well made and ridiculously catchy. MC's Swell and Sentence are each pretty solid in their own right, but I think they really shine when they trade lines back and forth and play off each other in a throwback manner that you don't see much anymore.

If you were forcing me to come up with a comparison for the Metermaids' sound, I might say they sound like the Fort Minor songs that feature Styles Of Beyond, mixed with some of the Stereo MC's production elements. I think the Fort Minor comparison is a good one, because that's another example of an album I was fairly skeptical about, but enjoyed once I heard it. Skepticism on the whole is pretty hard to find in the Metermaids songs, as they certainly acknowledge that life can certainly serve up the turd sandwich platter at times, but you might as well meet it head on and try and have a good time.

And meet it head on they do with the addictive, call and response chorus on album opener The Inside. Big drums and guitar licks provide a rock backdrop for the forgiveness ode Come Home, but it still manages to sound like a hip hop song. Guitar licks play a major role on one of the albums real standouts, Feel Alive, which has a vivacity and optimism that modern hip hop is often lacking. Funk Terrorist is not only funky and catchy, but it references Bootsy and slap bass, so it's already solid by default. The 80's keyboards on Fingertips do their part to make a catchy song even more-so, and the title track shows the 'Maids have a gritty side with a look at how they view NYC at night.

The Metermaids aren't likely hip hop for the BET/hip-pop set, in fact Swell said this in his email to us "Most recently we opened for Fabolous. That didn't go so well. Haha.", but that only made want to hear their album more. It is certainly music that I think a lot of people might relate to and enjoy if they heard it, so we're happy to help spread the word.

Posted at 8:05 PM by naedoo :: 1 comments

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At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

LOVE their album -- they're great live too! Theres some footage from their performance at Angels and Kings up on woozyfly.com/metermaids

not too shabby

 

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