Published Oct 17, 2014In preparation for their North American tour, hip-hop acts Flatbush Zombies and the Underachievers have teamed up to produce Clockwork Indigo, a five-track EP. Both groups hail from the Flatbush neighbourhood of Brooklyn, are longtime friends with a history of sharing hip-hop, recreational drugs and art, and have many overlaps in both fan base and style, so it's only natural they would decide to tour together. However, rather than flood the airwaves with anything truly revolutionary, Clockwork Indigo flips tried and true themes, flows and song structures to provide some easy fan service — and, sadly, little else.
The opening posse cut "Butterfly Effect" gives a sense of the whole project, acting as a seven-minute banger meant more to be seen live than listened to through ear buds. The vinyl effect in the background sounds off-putting for an otherwise energetic opener, and the following songs "LUAM" and "Benefit Concert" both contain heaps of crowd hype material. If you've been paying attention to releases like UA's Indigoism or FBZ's BetterOffDEAD, the repetitive "Ain't this what you want?" chorus chants and drug references aren't exactly new territory for either group. The final track, "System," carries usual anxieties and anti-establishment clique raps, but is cut short abruptly midway through the beat, ending off the 20-minute EP in an odd fashion.
The idea of a double-bill featuring Flatbush Zombies and the Underachievers is a natural extension of the groups' mutual affinity, but these tracks strike an odd position in their respective catalogues. The Clockwork Indigo EP works great as promotional material containing festival-hyping posse tracks, which should appease both groups' fans, but unless you live and die by this New York-style flavour of underground hip-hop, there isn't much here to incite repeat listens. (Independent)