Tapwater Breadcrumbs

Tapwater’s Aspire and Azraelian stumble out of the block with opening track "Breadcrumbs,” an artsy conceptual track that has each emcee simultaneously reciting their own thematically-connected poem over atmospheric, minimal music. But when the poems end, either DJ Wunderkut or DJ Marvel picks things up a bit cutting "tapwater” until the dripping that started everything accumulates into waves that evolve into following track "Follow the Tide.” While a perfect example of how Aalo Guha’s dreamy mix of drums, keys (often pianos) and varied airy effects are so well-suited to the duo’s coffee shop poetics and conceptual story raps, sometimes his production does come off as a little too minimal. Aspire and Azraelian are naturals over the chill production, but the three really present their A-game when bringing along guests like on the two fist-pumping cuts "Able Bodies,” a dark track with rapid rappers the Chicharones, and "LaLaLa,” a flute-heavy carnival track with Kaboom, or with a smooth exchange of introspective raps with Birdapres for "Gas Exhaust.” Unfortunately, among the tight flows are a few instances of poor breath control, obviously displayed in the middle of "Deception.” Just one more vocal take could have pushed the song out of that inferior second category, and could mean the difference between a great album or just a few good songs. (Treetrunk)