Aaron Thomason proceeds with his glum outlook and remains poet laureate for a settlement that you won’t find on any map. A sophomore album of hip-hop instrumentals etched in folk melancholy and a tense yet beautiful itchiness, he creates a world of folklore in which 2econd Class Citizen commits his own Grimm fairytales to a sepia-toned storybook.
Through the off-color mood that has become his trademark dictates, trudging through acoustica and reverb as if dealt the wrong cards throughout life while the band plays on, 2CC does make hearts beat faster. The drama, which Thomason has always hinted at without always exposing openly, comes flooding out, through the upped tempos of “Stop to Wonder” and “Change.” “Liberated Lady” creates a crimefighting, afro-kinking superhero who is also an obvious album out of towner, compared to the title track’s saddened hippy lament and campfire cradle “Memory Page.” “Metamorphosis” faces a powerful, spiritualized choir attempting to arrest Thomason’s slump, and “Stay With Me” is the subsequent rock backlash executed with perfect timing.
A classic case of the artist doing what they do best: you don’t want 2CC veering too far from his lifeblood, though that means progress can be seen as limited. Come hell or high water, Thomason’s heavy-hearted patent struggling to stay afloat remains magnetic.
File under: RJD2, DJ Food, Aim