Album cover Sound Advice - The Grouch
Sound AdviceThe Grouch7/10

The Grouch - Sound Advice

18 Jul 2008 macron1

The Alpha Pup podcast began life just over three years ago, with the intention of delivering a 15 minutes or so of "avant-garde rap … cutting edge turntablism and experimental electronic [music]" mixes on the first and fifteenth day each month. It began on routine promisingly enough, however given 14 episodes spanning 13 months between July ‘05 and August ‘06 eventually surfaced, these plans evidently did not stand the test of time/best laid plans/gang aft agley &c.

It was a kind thought and did produce several minutes of pleasing (not to mention free) tunes delivered automagically to your favourite podcatching client, on an albeit irregular schedule. Episode 3 (warning: content) in particular stands out as not only a fine example of the mostly/totally unfamiliar artists of the Alpha Pup back-catalogue mashed thoughtfully by edIT, and also features a fine turn from The Grouch, with a piece from Sound Advice (check the embarrassingly effusive eMusic review…), the subject of this weeks review.

The combined work of The Grouch (of course), D-Styles (dj), and Daddy Kev (producer), Sound Advice is a very short (21 minutes in total) dive into an experimental world of classical jazz/hip hop fusion. The entire work stands out for its sharp use of jazz-tinted piano, string, and horn pieces floating over subtle "beats" (I am loath to use that term when writing of hip hop) and elaborate double-bass riffs skilfully arranged into a hip hop context that "makes sense".

Grouch's lyrics are in places a little ho-hum, traipsing the "alternative" spectrum of the genre, which I think means he doesn't rap about bitches & hoes/witches & trolls etc, but in tracks such as "Visibly Vocal" and "Climax Cleverly" compliment the intricate nature of the backing music. Some of the lyricism is a tad annoying, e.g. that found in "Dollars For Not", where Grouch mostly just speaks nonsense over some... freestyle/verse jazz (if that is a thing. Sounds a bit like this) that would have done well without it. That being said, the brevity of the album lends itself to forgiveness for such lapses.

Taken together, Sound Advice is a distinctive exposition and one that promised much from all contributors, however little of what has since come of all has realized this potential (the topic of another review entirely). It is recommended for the wonderfully original (in the context of a hip hop album) compositions and arrangements of D-Styles and Daddy Kev, as well as being a worthy introduction to The Grouch.

Sardless Tracks

  • Opening Spit
  • Visibly Vocal
  • Climax Cleverly.

Track Listing

  1. Square One
  2. Opening Spit
  3. Usually
  4. Nowadays
  5. Different Everybodys
  6. All Gotta Live
  7. Dollars For Not
  8. Visibly Vocal
  9. I Got Class
  10. Climax Cleverly
  11. Exit