To the pairing of the words ‘Welsh’ and ‘hip-hop’, most people’s subconscious will flag some sort of lapse in natural order, questioning the veracity of such co-occurrence. But as we collectively rise Lazarus style from the hangover of Goldie Lookin’ Chain, Welsh deviants Dead Residents are keen to tell us that the valleys are precisely where it’s at.
Not that Goldie Lookin’ Chain references are fair, while they were the tongue-in-cheek Darkness of hip-hop, Dead Residents are far more sincere in their output, although with such song titles as Cum Bubbles and Scumbongo; lyrics such “Stacey sucks cock”, I immediately question whether “sincere” is the correct adjective to use. And what’s with the denigration of Um Bongo?
The first half of Triple Crown sounds completely lost. And it is with a narcissistic inability that Dead Residents painfully drag its listener through the opening songs. Cum Bubbles’ aggressive dissonance and Number Wang’s bad production both annoy and fail to go anywhere, while I Seen Ya Flyer sounds like a Flight Of The Conchords b-side. Bad times.
Champion Sound is almost briefly guard-droppingly palatable, whether or not that’s because it succeeds one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard in Scumbongo. Regardless, Dead Residents promptly draw rein to Champion Sound’s potential with some literally incredible vocal interplay that will have you looking over your shoulder to check you’re not in a primary school playground.
Ill To This provides much needed respite from the barrage of crap, with a cool, hypnotic bassline, and is the first indicator that Triple Crown might not be a lost cause. The dramatics of 10th Annual World Interspecies Contest For Turf Dominance is similarly promising, and damn well has touches of brilliance, as do the resplendent string samples of Skinnyman-esque Different Times.
But these slim smatterings of ability only highlight how irritatingly bad the rest of Triple Crown is. The production is weak, the songwriting is poor, the songs often sound jarring and dissonant, the rhythms are trying to be clever (but failing), and the rapping is annoying. Yes, the album improves as it limps to its conclusion (or maybe that’s just subconscious elation delivered by the thought of the album’s end), but it’s too little too late and is no basis for merit.
The seemingly random samples that punctuate the album add nothing to the songs, and feel as if they are there to bolster the credibility of Dead Residents. The sampling of Dead Man’s Shoes at the end of House Song places the mouldy cherry aloft this half-baked cake, and it’s not hard to imagine the villains from said film registering Triple Crown as a mainstay of their record collection.