Eyedea & Abilities - By The Throat

Craig Broad 16/02/2010

Rating: 4/5

Eyedea & Abilities, possibly the strangest name I have heard for some time, return to the underground hip hop scene for the first time in five years since acclaimed sophomore album 'E&A' with its follow up 'By The Throat'.

I am not exactly brimming with knowledge on the hip hop scene but I know that mainstream wise, it is full of copy cat groups offering a watered down version of groundbreaking urban music to a young audience that is more than happy to accept this just to fit in with certain crowds. Having heard some of the dullest uninspiring chart music recently, Eyedea & Abilities are a complete breath of fresh air, even for someone who doesn't necessarily like this style of music. Dark and brooding, it starts with 'Hay Fever', driven by a distorted bassline and MC Michael Larsens gritty vocals and lyrical content, even the input of singing on this track is used to add to the atmosphere of the track, rather than make it accessible. 'Spin Cycle' is a hit single in the making, memorable guitar work layered over real upbeat drums rather than programmed ones, as the MC'ing skips in time with the drums until the chorus kicks it into radio friendly almost indie-esque singing. 'Burn Fetish' originally sounds akin to The Fugees until once again, it breaks into a catchy chorus with Larsen rapping "Empathy is the poor mans cocaine and love is just a chemical by any other name", it is dark stuff lyrically and even musically, much akin to Eminem in that sense but with less mainstream polish and more innovation.

'By The Throat' definitely won't be everyones cup of tea. It is fundamentally a hip hop record but with a dark emotionally rock side to it, perhaps a more urban version of Rage Against The Machine without the fret wanking and angry at every single thing in the world rather than just concentrating on the politics. I hear alot of records and have in the past at least, heard alot of hip hop and Eyedea & Abilities are one of the few acts I have enjoyed and the only one in the genre I could say at this stage, are pushing boundaries within the genre. You can't really go wrong with 'By The Throat' if you enjoy hip hop.

Eyedea & Abilities Myspace