Hokey Fright

The Uncluded

Rhymesayers Records, 2013


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


On paper, this arrangement doesn't sound like it should work. Take DIY folk singer and indie rock superstar Kimya Dawson (of Moldy Peaches) and pair her up with hip-hop producer and linguistic luminary Aesop Rock and you get The Uncluded. Just as seemingly hard to pull off, the pair delivers a 16 track debut that tackles both serious and silly topics while bringing their respective styles to each song, both remaining true to their individual roots. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Seeing as how each is known for their vivid storytelling, you get an earful lyrically here. Being more in tune with Dawson's music, I'm naturally inclined to recall more about her portions of the songs, though there's little doubt that Aesop is phenomenally talented at his own trade.

"Kryptonite" starts the odd album and it literally sounds like two different songs are being played at the same time, as Dawson's gentle strumming and Aesop's direct approach to rap almost come off like a holiday jingle. Thirty seconds in and you're already scratching your head, wondering what's going on; but you're also inevitably telling yourself you need to hear more and see what unfolds.

Fortunately, the decision to stick it out pays off. While the darker "Boomerang" and quick paced "Delicate Cycle" cover serious issues, the 40 second "Superheroes" sounds like they're reading a restaurant menu and "WYHUOM" is a series of voice mails set to a dance floor backdrop of electronic noises. However, the pair is at their best when they side with personal stories. Tracks like "TV On 10" find a nice balance between Kimya's indie rock and Aesop's rhyming under a haunting feeling, and the Kimya dominated "Teleprompters" examines self-worth and comes off as an empowering anthem for the underdog.

Quirky enough for xylophones and Dawson's almost nursery rhyme delivery, but also with a motif of loss and self-esteem from an autobiographical standpoint, you get a good amount of louder, beat driven songs versus Kimya's campfire strumming and soft singing. At nearly an hour long there's a lot to digest here, and while not every track is a gem, there's enough goodness here to warrant the time to give it a spin.

Rating: B

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