There’s something very exciting about the first time you put on album by an artist you haven’t heard before. Sure, it could suck and you just throw it in the discard pile. But every once in a while, you’ll come across an album that totally moves you and finds a way into your permanent rotation. That’s definitely the case with Wide Eyes. I knew nothing about what to expect going into the album, but I’m a fan now.

Emcees Filth Phantom and Sean Anonymous, along with DJ Name and producer Dimitry Killstorm have come together to give us a statement album. It has the playfulness and emcee tradeoff of an Ugly Duckling album, but with the political awareness of someone like Murs or Brother Ali.

There are a few moments on the album that come across as awkward, like the chorus to “Jakes,” which just doesn’t capitalize on the momentum built off of some great verses about police abuse of authority and some great production with pounding piano and horn crescendos really creating a sense of urgency. This is a minor complaint, though, the kind you make when an album overall is quite satisfying.

Filth and Sean are pretty skilled on the mic, coming up with some great wordplay, but are even better with being able to shift gears from battle raps to political raps to introspective rhymes. It’s all there, and Killstorm is right with them, creating musical moods that gently shift across the album but all comes together to make a coherent album that doesn’t really repeat itself.

The only thing I think that’s really missing from this album is the moment where I crank it up and lose myself. Granted, this doesn’t happen with every album and group, but I think Wide Eyes is capable of it. Hands Tied has given me plenty to like, but I’m even more excited anticipating what’s to come.