The Busy Signals - Baby's First Beats
Sugar Free Records

Howard W. Hamilton III, takes us back in time with this sample heavy
experimental pop album. This guy smokes a lot of dope. Track one tricks you
into thinking you just bought a Cornershop record..a tight beat, lots of
exotic instrumentation, and sugar coated lyrics, "I never feel alone with
the headphones on.." "you look so cute with the cans on" And why not throw
in some record scratching? Hell, this guy has nothing better to do alone in
his basement. Though vocals are consistently spoken -not sung- the mixing
of the record keeps them interesting: spacey effect and loops come in and
out interweaving with Hamilton's lazy, Elliot Smith-esque vocal
stylings. Track three steps up and smacks you in the face with the Love
Boat theme, or at least something close. I honestly can't hear the song
without picturing John Ritter..and I have to assume that was the vibe he
was trying to put out. The case lining, plastered with images straight out
of a 70's homemade jewelry craft book, is mostly Technicolor: the visual
incarnation of the sound. At times, the lyrics seem to warrant our
attention, then we hear track 11 entitled "Constantly Awesome" which
dispels the idea of a deeper underlying message in the record. What makes
this experiment worth while, for me, is the element of originality.
Comparisons can be made, but you simply won't hear a record like it in
modern pop music. Furthermore, Hamilton III performs nearly every element
of the album by hand - without the aid of a sequencer. An impressive feat,
considering the highly complex nature of the album: innumerable samples,
loops and hip-hop break beats give it, at least, an interesting sound.
...camm rowland...

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