Bestiary [LP]

by: Hail Mary Mallon

Named after the real Typhoid Mary, the left-field hip-hop supergroup Hail Mary Mallon returned with their sophomore effort just as Ebola hysteria was shaking the globe. That's the kind of grim, ironic synchronicity members Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic enjoy, as here, it fuels the key cut "Dollywood," an amusement park ride that turns dark carnival once the MCs notice the carnies and attendees look way too much alike. Their lives are burdened by "frizzy, thinning hair, funkin' commonplace" and they "die anonymously, meet Beelzebub," but it didn't happen because of albums like Bestiary, as "Used Cars" is skepticism made funky for the masses, suggesting we "illustrate man as a bourgeois chew toy" while observing that social networking and modern noise means "I've got 99 problems/And 22 ain't shit." "Hail Mary" is everything buyable in 2014 as broken Oakleys and Burger King buns lead the list of consumer items that Sonic skillfully turns into pointed poetry, while nostalgic junk like fanny packs jump out, reminding us everything we cherish will one day be on a heap. The two have a perfect chemistry: Rock make it all seem vital while Sonic makes it all sound easy, and even if he's not the official third member of this supersoup anymore, DJ Big Wiz is back with scratching turntables and humorous cuts. Rock and Sonic handle all the production, block-rocking and electro-boogieing with the old-school in mind. In the end, it's an album for serious beatnuts, a rich effort for lyricists to decipher, plus a supergroup release on a Run the Jewels level. [Bestiary was also released on LP.] ~ David Jeffries

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