Album Review: Death Grips - The Money Store

1 June 2012 | 6:43 pm | Sevana Ohandjanian

The flaws reveal themselves more in the flow of the record than that of Burnett’s rhymes.

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Rap rock has never had the most illustrious of reputations, especially in the last ten years or so. Death Grips are, at their most base, making rap rock with a sinister aggression. The anger is deceptive really, it's the adhesive that holds together a record that is equally geared towards hip hop and jazz beats as it is to the throbbing undertones of dubstep. This is pure vitriol made sonic with vengeance manifesting itself in sheer noise, and it's no surprise to discover that it's the trio's debut album, with few releases to their names beforehand.

There are hints of a method to the madness to be detected; like in the pop synth on the decidedly radio-unfriendly Bitch Please that gives way to drawling raps and ear-splitting bass beats, or the choppy vocal sampling on Get Got that sets off a Crystal Castles-esque bleep noise explosion. Yet most of the time the listener is overwhelmed by a barrage of sounds, contrasting elements that shouldn't mesh and sometimes don't. Subtlety is the last thing on the minds of this Californian trio. The Fever (Aye Aye) is an early indicator of the record's quality two tracks in, an addictively repetitive keyboard undercutting the ferociously tinny drums and vocalist Stefan Burnett's hoarse rapping. It's easy to imagine crowds swaying subconsciously to the verses before being buoyed into dance by the thumping chorus.

The flaws reveal themselves more in the flow of the record than that of Burnett's rhymes. The constant torrent of incoherent vocals being patched through modulators becomes tiresome eight or so songs in. Nonetheless, it's not hard to imagine kids bouncing off venue walls when The Money Store gets a live airing.