I think most people are dubious when an artist releases an EP instead of a full album. It’s when the question of quality versus quantity really comes into play. And when a seven song EP contains three covers, there is understandably a dispute over the level of creativity. Comprised primarily of Boots Riley of The Coup, and guitar genius Tom Morello, Street Sweeper Social Club is something of a supergroup, and their latest release, The Ghetto Blaster EP definitely has the foundation to be something great. But is it?
Title track “Ghetto Blaster” is an in-your-face amalgamation of Riley and Morello’s signature styles. It’s loud, raucous, and stylish. It’s followed by a cover of The Coup’s own “Everythang,” which is fine but somewhat unmemorable. True to Boots Riley’s usual fashion of subtle political commentary, the chorus of “The New Fuck You” states “revolution is the new ‘fuck you'” and he might be right, though it’s unlikely that this EP will be inducing any revolution in the near future. “Scars (Hold That Pose)” is classic Riley – lyrically, it’s edgy and clever, and proves that he is deft songwriter. Covers of “Paper Planes” by M.I.A, and LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” are both decent.
There is beauty in this collaboration. Fans of The Coup will appreciate that Boots Riley is everything that’s right about hip-hop: he tells his stories effectively and expresses a message through his songwriting, and his lyrical flow is rhythmically simple and fits into the groove perfectly. Similarly, Tom Morello has a remarkable ability to use his guitar not just as an instrument, but as a voice. He introduces melody, occasionally bringing the articulated sounds of the guitar to the forefront of the mix, but knows when to step back and let the lyrics do the talking.
Considering Street Sweeper Social Club encompasses two artists who are exceptionally skilled, it just feels like they’re holding back. The Ghetto Blaster EP is good. But it just isn’t quite good enough. [ END ]
01. Ghetto Blaster
02. Everythang (The Coup cover)
03. Paper Planes (M.I.A cover)
04. The New Fucker You
05. Scars (Hold That Pose)
06. Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J cover)
07. Promenade (Guitar Fury Remix)
Run Time: 25:24
Release Date: 08.10.2010