Surf Gang - SGV1 Music Album Reviews

Surf Gang - SGV1 Music Album Reviews
The New York City rap crew’s latest is a mansion of sweet beats and vocal textures that bring a whole new level of professional polish to their sound.

On a recent Friday night, NYC rap clan Surf Gang hosted a free gig in an outdoor parking depot full of vacant trucks and school buses. The location had already been changed twice—once in just the last few hours before, because of police in the area—yet hundreds of fans still made it. People danced and swayed over muddy ground, while others smoked in circles or climbed on top of buses, fists in the air. The concert felt like a pocket of beauty, at once gritty and vibrant with communal warmth, and the space seemed to atmospherically capture the way Surf Gang carves wonder into dissonant music. On SGV1, the group’s producers find intoxicating ways to spin militant vocal commands and bass thuds into something that sounds idyllic.

No definitive list of Surf Gang members exists, but the core associates include producers EvilGiane (recently big-upped by Drake), Harrison, TommyToHotty, and Eera, along with vocalists BabyxSosa, Polo Perks, Moh Baretta, Casper, and Bobainee. The group mixes cloud rap vibes a la Drain Gang with the hazy bounce of plugg beats and drill’s guttural bleakness. The result: moshpit rap with a tinge of glacial glassiness, as if the soundscapes are always teetering on the edge of collapse. You can tell the MCs apart by their textures. BabyxSosa’s tone shines like a neon sign, gloriously sky-high. Polo Perks, in contrast, has the deadpan drawl of someone fed up with life. Bobainee raps like he’s just downed a cup of coffee. Moh Baretta sounds like a resigned CEO. Casper’s helium melodies whistle like icy wind over your ears.

Each rapper is individually transfixing, so when four of them link on a posse cut like album standout “Cinderella,” it feels like you’re watching the SoundCloud rap Avengers unite or some crossover episode between two hit TV shows. The transitions between performers are seamless, sometimes nonexistent; at points, they’re all vocalizing in sync like hyperactive quadruplets—one could be rapping about smoking mimosas while another is grunting and someone else warbling gibberish in the background at the same time. EvilGiane keeps everything smooth with the organizational skill of someone who obsessively slots their emails into color-coded folders. He ensures no one tramples, weaving everyone into his ebullient beat with incredible fluidity. It’s a pure rush to hear the chemistry of every vocalist gliding over and accenting each other.

The vocals are mega-boosted by the instrumentals, which are like mini-museums, full of dazzling sound sculptures and little moments of reverb-rapture that feel as delicate as they are precious. The Harrison and EvilGiane-produced “Party” rocks and gyrates with the gawky swagger of a Nam June Paik robot come alive. Eera’s “24 hrs P2” could score a Legend of Zelda level, its ambiance so lush and holographic it makes BabyxSosa’s shrill echoes sound sacred.

SGV1 brings a whole new level of professional polish to the Surf Gang sound, something you wouldn’t have anticipated from the squad members’ earlier efforts. Polo Perks’s PUNK GOES DRILL took emo hits such as the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and flipped them into bizarrely upbeat drill that scanned more like glittering graffiti than music. Moh Baretta’s #THISISNOTADRILL diptych layered drums and barked vocals over indie rock and pop chart hits like Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina’s accordion banger “Stereo Love.” Swapping the weirdness for crystalline cloud beats, SGV1’s producers sometimes make you yearn for some of that off-the-wall experimentation, especially when the tape drags during the middle and the shiny instrumentals begin to dissolve into one glossy goop. Tunes like the barely distinguishable “In My Ear” and “Avianne” sound manufactured for a (not yet created) cloud rap version of the Pollen playlist, that infamous Spotify collection crammed with amorphously vibey indie-pop designed to appeal to the masses.

While most of the tracks revolve around flexing, a highlight, “Problems (Outro),” features Bobainee meditating on how his life has been a series of anxious predicaments. “I was down real bad, so fucked up I couldn’t get a dollar,” he laments. “I got a 1-year-old son, fuck my baby momma… Deep in thoughts, sipping drinks so I can’t think about it.” Over a more kinetic beat, his commanding vocal presence could deceive you into thinking his painful past is only a distant memory, as if he’s no longer sad about it. But the vast, crestfallen instrumental—one of two produced by the trio of EvilGiane, Eera, and Harrison—lets you feel Bobainee’s agony in ways that his deep tone simply can’t provide. The beat sounds as if it’s crying.

Anchored by EvilGiane and the other members’ euphoric production, SGV1 is a mansion of sweet beats and vocal textures. Husky whispers, slow-motion chirrups, reverb-laden echoes that flutter into nothingness. It’s the rare rap album where the vocalists and producers feel like they’re nearly always working in lockstep, a triumph even more impressive considering how many there are. And it feels like a huge moment for New York rap fans, the kids who came out to the show in droves that night. There hasn’t been such an exciting new act in the city since Brooklyn drill pioneer Pop Smoke. Throughout the concert, feverish chants of “Surf Gang, Surf Gang!” soared across the landscape and felt something like a collective exhale.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Surf Gang - SGV1 Music Album Reviews Surf Gang - SGV1 Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 15, 2021 Rating: 5


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