Lyrics Born, Overnite Encore (2006), Quannum Projects, Hip-Hop

Some of you out there have the same preparation ceremony I do when listening to a new album: fasting for an entire day, disassembling and reassembling your headphones, trimming your fingernails, etc. I think I’ll save you the trouble and tell you it’s not worth it for this album.

LB’s usual soulful energy and gritty presence come through on this CD but that is more singer than music. Which brings me to my chief grievance: the backing band. The instrumentation is often campy, corny, and clumsy. It also makes every song sound exactly the same. Now, I’ve gone through the whole “instrumentation enhances a live performance because nobody wants to see a person on stage pushing buttons,” argument before, but I’ve seen way too many MCs (Buck 65, Sage Francis, MF Doom) bring down an entire house with a mic and an minidisc player, and I honestly thought Lyrics Born could be one of them. But I have to give credit where it’s due: Lyrics Born managed to assemble the best Lyrics Born-cover band in the world, but they fail to be anything more than that.

Listening to this album reminds me why I go out to live shows in the first place. The energy, the visuals, and weed smoke. The contents of this CD would make a nice backdrop to a barbecue or barfight; but a chill groove or bumpin’ ride it is not. But for the record (get the pun?), the three studio-tracks at the end of the album are pretty good and serve as a nice teaser for Mr. Shimura’s next studio recording.

bihn kim