Before I even listened to this album, I was already planning out how I was going to write this review - about how Ugly Duckling never blows you away, but they are always enjoyable and I’m always happy to hear a new UD album, etc. Something happened, though. It’s not that this album is a huge departure or so challenging it’s not accessible or anything like that, it’s more that this album just nestles its way under you skin and really grows on you. As I’d drive around in my car with an assortment of new and old CDs strewn around, I’d find myself picking up Audacity more and more. After stewing on it for a while, the conclusion that I’ve come to is that UD haven’t been challenging themselves by going off in strange directions, but instead have been gradually perfecting their personal style of hip hop. When Dizzy, Andy, and Young Einstein released their first album, Journey to Anywhere, in 2001, they introduced the world to their humorous old-school rhymes with an even older-school laid back So-Cal vibe, with jazz, samba, and funk samples creating a great party vibe. Going from that first album to this one, it becomes clear that there has been plenty of growth within the group, even though its not the kind that hits you over the head like a ton of bricks. With tracks like “Falling Again,” and “I Want to Believe,” we find the guys reaching a mature soulful hip hop style with killer hooks. These songs give voice to a relatable soul searching that I keep wandering back to for more. Fans of their earlier work should not be discouraged that the group has grown up and isn’t any fun any more. Songs like the title track find Dizzy and Andy trading playful witty rhymes that will go over great at any house party, and just in case there are any doubters as to the skills on the decks, Dizzy and Andy step aside on “Einstein Do It (Night on Scratch Mountain)” and let their deejay throw down on a great track that showcases his skills on the ones and twos without sacrificing song structure, which is not an easy feat. So while Ugly Duckling isn’t about to drop a Pet Sounds on us, some subtle personal growth in style can be just as rewarding if you take the time to immerse yourself in an artists sound. This album is fun on the surface, but has emotion and depth for those who care to dig deeper. And for that, I take my hat off for UD.
|Title:||Ugly Duckling - Audacity|