Album Review: Maundz - Zero

3 July 2012 | 11:34 am | Aleksia Barron

Maundz channels the lovable larrikin on Zero – there’s a sense of humour coursing through his lyrics.

Something wicked this way comes. Crate Cartel's Maundz has stepped his game up with his new release Zero, an album that has the potential to elevate the Melbourne artist to national recognition.

Maundz channels the lovable larrikin on Zero – there's a sense of humour coursing through his lyrics that was evident on his previous outing Mr Nobody, but it feels like it's coming more naturally to him now. He comes out swinging over the rollicking beat of the title track, setting the tone for an album that is as gleeful as it is punchy and never sacrifices its underground aesthetic.

It's a testament to Maundz's rising star that many of the scene's bigger names have contributed guest spots, including the revered retiree Bias B on the nostalgic Take It Back. Also appearing on the album is Brad Strut and Action Bronson on All Quotes, Adelaide scamps Vents and Sesta on Homicide and WA's Drapht on the cheeky, often hilarious C U Next Tuesday, a song from the Britney Spears If You Seek Amy school of song names. (“I hope your ears turn to arses and you shit on your shirts” has surely got to be one of the most visceral and evocative lyrics written in recent times. Yeesh.)

WIK's production is sharp and spirited, and gives the album a cohesiveness without ever feeling same-ish. The Crate Cartel boys step up brilliantly for Letters & Numbers, a crew track that serves as proof of why CC are so beloved as a unit. Maundz is the undisputed star of Zero, though. His rhymes are funny without mugging for laughs, insightful without being maudlin and clever without seeming ostentatious.

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I ain't done nothin' special with my life/But I know one thing, I'm a menace with a rhyme” says Maundz on Agent 86. The latter statement is certainly accurate, and with the release of Zero, it's fair to say that the former could be proved false.