C.R.A.C. Knuckles The Piece Talks

Innovative Detroit producer/MC Ta’Raach and inspired new-schooler Blu team-up as C.R.A.C. Knuckles for another dose of progressive, anything goes hip-hop, delivering a refined version of their previously limited merch table release, The Piece Talks. After getting some obligatory Motor City griminess out of the way with dirty Detroit neck twister "What Up (2),” the duo quickly delve into the unexpected, namely the cutesy, bass-and-guitar anchored, faux indie rock sound of "Buy Me Lunch.” The sonic experiments continue with the skipping rhythm and playful flow of "Love Don’t,” the pulsating beat and warm digital bass line of "Crachause,” and the murky tones and muted guitar wails of "Bullet Through Me.” With so much creativity abounding, it’s a shame they didn’t put as much effort into the vocals. While the more traditional hip-hop tunes show the team trading clever one-liners, too many of the record’s most interesting cuts are wasted with unfocused lyrics, studio clowning and dead space. (Tres)