Art Vandelay Eye 8 The Crow

Art Vandelay Eye 8 The Crow
8
While the duo's moniker is borrowed from Seinfeld and the title of their third album is a quote from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, there's no sitcom humour here. Like their previous two releases, Eye 8 The Crow is gritty, dark and edgy. Rapper Ricky Pharoe has a pretty bleak outlook on life; he's on one hand self-deprecating, but on the other, he's still better than you — "humbly arrogant" he calls it on "Emilio Estevez." A recurring theme throughout is the challenges of success, but whether he's rapping about the music business, suicidal thoughts, smoking weed, distrusting the government or just plain bragging, Pharoe is a confident MC with a tight flow and delivery. Still, his message is made more palatable by the production of partner Mack Formay, who matches the dark vibe of the lyrics and also provides counterpoints with faster tempos and banging drums that will get toes tapping, heads nodding and maybe even cause outright dancing, although the first half of "Emilio Estevez" is a drum-less, acoustic-style experiment, while "Run For Your Life" and "The Devil's Notebook" are mostly mellow and laidback. Of the 12 tracks, the only misstep is "Scribbles Fall," the manipulated repetition of the first line of every couplet becoming quickly tedious, but the highlights are too numerous to mention. Those of you who think the world is a fucked-up place will dig this. And like their previous efforts, Eye 8 The Crow is well worth the cost of free from their Bandcamp. (Independent)