[3 May 2010]
Remember last year when Tanya Morgan topped a load of Best Of lists thanks to the trio’s stellar Brooklynati? Yeah, of course you do. It marked the point when they could stop mentioning that no, they are in fact not a female neo soul singer. Following that album’s release, all three members began working on solo efforts before crafting their next group project. The first of those three to drop is Donwill’s Don Cusack in High Fidelity, a concept album revolving around the story within the book/film of the same name. While you don’t always feel stuck in a lyrical rundown of the script, Donwill certainly stays true to the tale. You take a trip to “Championship Vinyl” and meet up with the musical moron twins, Dick and Barry, as played by Von Pea and Che Grand. Later, you meet the villain, Ian Raymond, as played by Opio, on “Ian’s Song”. And, of course, the arc mostly sticks to relationships, particularly the rollercoaster-of-emotions one featuring Laura, whose song is one of the album’s finest thanks to Astronote’s production. Elsewhere, you can even just lose yourself in the funky, R&B vibes of cuts like “I See You” and “Love Junkie”, both of which are undeniably groovy. Hip-hop concept albums, especially of this breed, don’t come around too often. And it’s not that Donwill gets credit simply for doing something different. He gets props for taking a chance and pulling it off, even if it might take several listens to truly appreciate.