Mystery Theatre


traight outta Bristol with a penchant for screwing with the boundaries, Aspects are best (only) known for their 2001 near-hit and daytime radio staple “My Genre”, a truly witty, and perfectly video store geeky, rhyming tribute to 80s celluloid—complete with shout outs to Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna. For those of you that never heard it, all you need to know is that it rhymed “Molly Ringwald” with “vacate with the Griswolds”. For those of you that did hear it, the following album, Correct English, came across as a moderate disappointment. Too mature.

And Mystery Theatre, what with its guest appearances by psychedelic indie chancers and the pre-press focussing more on similarities to The Coral and The Beta Band than anything in the contemporary rap firmament, continues their desire to be seen as… adults? If this is true, why was their last recording My Genre II with DJ Yoda, wherein they dropped verbals about the TV of the 80s (“My dynasty’s wide, check the family ties”) over a Cameo beat? Maybe their desire to move away from the schticky side of rap comes from the amount of times they get asked when My Genre III, complete with lyrical references to Living In A Box and Climie Fisher, is due.

And so what we get here is an album with precious little in the way of laughs, and just a Trinny and Susannah reference to pass for pop cultural debris. What they do have, though, is an absolute shedload of tune. Let’s be frank here: this is the album that To The 5 Boroughs could have been if the Beastie Boys weren’t such complete twats. We have retro beats, funk beats, “intelligent” lyrics” and, my god, some actual songs.

They start off like they mean business: opening track “Impact”, after the inevitable backpack sci-fi film sample vocal beginning, comes with the chorus chant: “Let’s. Make. Things. Clear. This. Is. Our. Year”. They then go on to prove that they have a claim to the 04 with the killer opening line “It’s the amphetamine ketamine veteran”. It’s where they stand apart from their national peers: white British rappers usually have the flow of a bladderless man, whilst Aspects twist their lyrics, turn corners with syllables and leave you with the sense that you’ve just been hog-tied by lyrics. What they have to say isn’t always of great importance, but they spit like they mean it. Man.

Vaguely vaunted collab with Ocean Colour Scene tribute act The Bees “Off The Lip” comes across as well as a hip-hop track involving The Bees could. It’s a worthy enough artefact, though, and it leaves rap as the final genre to have jumped on the West Coast Psychadelia bandwagon of mid-2003.

It’s the experimental tracks that are the dull ones, though, or at least pass for dull whilst in the presence of greatness like “The Way She Speaks” (which sounds like a man drowning his sorrows after getting dumped over the Sesame Street theme tune). So whereas “Chase The Devil” is ska-riffic with a “fuck a job” ethos complemented by guest vocalist Aklakine’s deranged toasting, “Man Under The Sea” just drowns (lol) you in tortured metaphor.

But even when they do get it wrong, you have to applaud them for having a go at it anyway. And it’s best to treat them as a classic three-ring circus: if you don’t like the acrobats, we’ve got some lions along in a minute, and if you don’t like them, we have a trapeze act. Yes, they’ve got rid of the clowns, but maybe they’ve now got a chance of reclaiming the radio territory My Genre brought them, only this time not as a novelty act. They could easily do it, just… guys, don’t use “Mordor” as a rhyme for anything. You don’t want to sound any more like characters from Spaced than you already do.

Reviewed by: Dom Passantino

Reviewed on: 2004-07-15

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Posted 07/15/2004 - 07:52:34 AM by nebbesh:
 "It’s the amphetamine ketamine veteran" - absolutely f*ckin awful, AND meaningless. pleez don't let aspects rep for brit rap.
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