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Album Audit: Linkin Park, Danny L Harle, Baro And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 05/22/2017

Album Audit is a weekly Interns feature, recapping and reviewing the album releases of the week with a cheeky score out of five.

Baro – Just Problems You Need To Know

Album Of The Week

Baro is one of the most talented MCs in the country but bar his 2015 EP 17/18 his output has been slow. Just Problems You Need To Know makes the wait worth it as it’s one of the exciting local hip-hop releases in a while. With tinges of the jazz and funk-infused sounds that graced Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, the EP sees Baro oscillate between the soulful and the aggressive.

comLAY U DOWN//SEXY goes for soulful crooning over rapping while wdubi gives us a flow that Chance The Rapper would be proud of. This tender, sensual aesthetic defines the EP but there’s also some unexpected aggression that lifts it to a new level. PRETTY sees Baro try his hand at grunge and FUCK THE JUDGE could be the best Rage Against The Machine comeback song they never recorded. We get to see many different facets to Baro on this EP and we like every side. 4/5

Danny L Harle – 1UL EP

PC Music producer Danny L Harle has followed up his Broken Flowers EP with his most refined set of songs yet. The 1UL EP goes for Supernatural-style pop songs, over the weirder, more hyperactive stuff and it proves that he could be a real force in the pop world.

Title track 1UL is his most commercial-sounding track to date winning with a giant drop while M4U dials it down a notch choosing fragility. Heavy Eyelids is an unexpectedly dark turn but Happy All The Time (which featured Carly Rae Jepsen on the demo) is most likely to excite PC Music fans thanks to its kitsch, otherworldly nature. Overall, the four track collection offers up not one dud and extends Harle’s likeability even further. 4/5

Linkin Park – One More Light

Since 2010’s A Thousand Suns, Linkin Park have really struggled to find their lane. They’re too heavy to be pop, have too much of a past to be experimental and have lost their cred in the heavy rock world. One More Light sees them go full pop and fall spectacularly short, sounding like the love child of Twenty-One Pilots and The Chainsmokers.

Paramore proved last week that a crossover to pop can be successful when it’s authentic but One More Light feels more like a stretch for relevancy and nothing they serve up sticks. Not even a great verse from Kiiara saves the melancholic Heavy while Pusha T and Stormzy just sound out of place Good Goodbye. Meanwhile, Sorry For Now, Battle Symphony and Invisible find them in a post-EDM world that they didn’t need to be in at all. Going from their heaviest album to this in a matter of years simply ruptures their legacy. 1.5/5

Faith Evans & Notorious B.I.G. – The King & I

Posthumous albums have a very spotty past but this one, helmed by Notorious B.I.G.‘s widow Faith Evans feels different. Evans has crafted this from the bottom up, surrounding his unheard verses with complementing, soulful vocals. This isn’t an album that sounds like it was made in 2017, nor do you get the feeling it’s supposed to. The authentic ’90s-leaning beats and the guests from Snoop Dogg to Lil Kim make this a homage to Biggie and the era that he thrived in.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any hits here. After all, Juicy is still being played in clubs like it was made yesterday and some of these have that same appeal. When We Party with Snoop has an infectious West Coast vibe and Can’t Get Enough has that effortless swag that all Biggie’s biggest hits possessed. While it’s all about B.I.G., Evans vocals are insane at many points here, particularly on doo-wop ballad Fool For You. It feels as if it’s as cathartic for her as it will likely be for the rapper’s mega fans. It’s not revolutionary and it’s hardly going to extend his legacy but it’s certainly going to preserve it. 3/5

Sofi De La Torre – Another. Not Me. I’m Done

Spanish artist Sofi De La Torre has followed up a collection of strong pop songs with a cohesive mini-album. The nine-track effort takes a neon-lit, hazy pop aesthetic and peppers it with a convincing, self-assured personality. Lyrically aggressive tracks $ and Cocktails & Emotions could come across as in-your-face but at the hands of De La Torre, they’re subtle and hypnotising. She has a way of being intense without being overbearing and that’s the project’s greatest success.

There are some downbeat deep cuts here but there are also some big pop gems likely to garner major attention. D.G.I.T. has an intoxicating melody and Views Of You sees her team with Chance The Rapper’s little bro Taylor Bennett to give it an edge, catapulting it to radio territory. This is the kind of music that is conceived in the drunken early hours of the morning and somehow still sounds great the next day. 3.5/5

Buddy – Ocean And Montana EP

Buddy is a rising Compton rapper who has linked-up with Kaytranada for a five-track EP that establishes him as a potential force in the hip-hop world. From Chance The Rapper to GoldLink, Kaytranada has done an excellent job in the past of bringing groove to rap bars and he’s done the exact same thing here. His presence is strong but Buddy is a competent enough rapper to steal the show.

Find Me has him trading between rapping and singing, with a patience and restraint that’s admirable for a new rapper. He ramps up the pace on Guillotine, throwing down verses that are likely to be immediately impressive to new listeners and closes out the project with a similar flow on Love Or Something. It sounds like Kaytranada has moulded every beat to Buddy’s every word and that’s never more evident than on the moveable World Of Wonders – a bedroom anthem that’s also likely to be a club staple. 4/5