Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Animal Farm

Culture Shock

(Focused Noise; US: 17 May 2011; UK: 17 May 2011)

Portland hip-hop crew shines on sophomore release

Culture Shock is the second full-length album from Portland, Oregon-based crew Animal Farm, following 2008’s debut The Unknown. The new record has a handful of guests and an up-and-coming producer, but what matters are the grooves, the beats and the lyrics, and the band comes through on all fronts. “Down to Business” uses twangy guitar and a rising bassline to underline its message of mainstream hip-hop’s infleunce on its audience. The indie/alternative/underground vibe runs through many songs, most notably “DIY”, which chronicles the band’s approach to producing and releasing its own music. But words are only part of the story, and the variety of grooves ranges from reggae beats on “Music for Idiots” to the soulful vocals backing “G.U.N.S. (Generation Under No Shield)” to the funky bass/guitar stylings of album closer “Can’t Give Up”. As a bonus, there is a blissful lack of braggadocio: “My service that I ignite through these verses / Try to always remember that I might not be perfect”. When was the last time you heard a rapper say that?

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.