The Joe Float or Flail

Written and recorded between 2006 and 2008, new album Float Or Flail likely predates previous release UT-OH. "This is who I once was," writes the Joe in the liner notes, and the album reveals a practicing Christian unafraid to testify to the glory of God ("On My Right Shoulder" and "God Himself") or rap about travelling through space and time, the former ("Spaceman") serving as a highly infectious intro song, while the latter ("Time Traveling") would have been more effective if it didn't mix the real with the fictional. As a rapper, the Joe is a good writer, with honest lyrics, but his nasal voice and unusual delivery, including an affected emphasis on seemingly random syllables, may never appeal to the less adventurous rap listener. The beats provide a good distraction though. For his third of the production, the Joe sticks mostly to keyboard beats, surprising with a fast beat for thought-provoking, intelligent design song "On My Right Shoulder," as well as finding a nice instrumental use for a Tie Fighter flyby sample on "Time Traveling." In fact, some of the best songs on Float or Flail are self-produced. Also contributing to the highlights are Suave's spacey synth work on future-funky "Spaceman," Teddy Holtby's mix of soaring strings and deep synth bass for posse cut "Retirement's a Four Letter Word I Scream In Public," with labelmates CBT, and the beautiful orchestrations of the Tremulance aka TEEN DAZE on "My Perpetuity (The Monk vs. The Merchant)" and "God Himself." Float or Flail is creative, fun and more than a touch personal, but it's unfortunately destined for a niche market. (Old Ugly)