Aesop Rock Labor Days

While everyone's proclaiming Cannibal Ox, Aesop Rock's label-mate at Definitive Jux, as having released a classic album with their debut, The Cold Vein, little attention is being paid to Aesop Rock himself. On his self-released Music for Earthworms and Appleseed, and his Mush debut, Float, Aesop Rock presented his multi-syllabic mastery of the monotone, a technique that succeeds under Aesop's control, and while he continues to maintain his monotone flow with few inflections and little variance on Labor Days, he does switch up his flow occasionally, most noticeably on the last verse of "Save Yourself," when he goes double-time, Dirty South-style. But, at the risk of belittling Aesop Rock's role on his own album, what may make this the classic Aesop Rock album is the improvement of the beats. Earthworms and Appleseed were short enough to leave a listener wanting more. On Float, the beats were sometimes indistinguishable and rarely very spectacular. This time, however, Aesop Rock, Omega One and Blockhead add many elements to their production, creating great background soundscapes for "Daylight," "Battery" and "One Brick." Both "The Yes and the Y'all" and "9-5ers Anthem" are harder than anything from Float, and there is a completely different sound supplied for Aesop with "Save Yourself." While "No Regrets" shines due to a great narrative supplied by Aesop Rock, other great tracks are "Flashflood," Boombox," "Coma" and "Daylight" - damn it, all of them! Let's just say Labor Days is a great album if your fast forward button is busted but not if the rewind button is the broken one. (Definitive Jux)