Grand Analog Modern Thunder

Grand Analog Modern Thunder
8
On third album Modern Thunder, Toronto, ON-based Grand Analog have refined the fusion of their live band aesthetic and straight up hip-hop approach into a satisfying, cohesive synthesis. On previous efforts Caligraffiti and Metropolis is Burning, the group's approach favoured a band backing-up the feel-good vibes of group MC Odario Williams. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but Modern Thunder sports a far more integrated and interconnected sound and approach, signalling significant artistic growth. Afrobeat-tinged lead track "Lion Head" nods to the past before serving subtle notice of the group's musical reboot. Meditative entries like the dusty "Rap Sheet (This Day On)," featuring Saukrates, and the rapid-fire "The Great Rhyme Dropper," featuring Shad, will appeal to the heads, but the group's versatility is also leveraged. Cognizant of their wide appeal, Grand Analog attempt to ensure that they don't cater too slavishly to pop sensibilities. On most occasions, they are successful, especially with the Native Tongue-feel of "Howl (Like Wolves)" sounding like a ready-made concert closer and bonus track "Trip the Light Fantastic" utilizing a shimmering Maylee Todd cameo, to excellent effect. The group also retain their experimental and adventurous edge, combining funk and Afrobeat vibes on "Wild Animal Print," while still remembering, in inimitable Grand Analog fashion, to incorporate reggae into the proceedings on "Unbearable Lightness." (Maple)