The Money Store, by Death Grips
Suggested by Krystian Musztafa
Hip Hop? Okay.
Experimental? Oh, Christ.
I’m an open-minded chap. I’ll give anything a bash. But there are certain phrases that cause me to take a deep breath and plaster a fake smile on my face. “Death Metal” is one, “Low Fat” is another. “Experimental” is a third.
It’s not that I fear change. I embrace that. It’s that, historically, the phrase “Experimental” and “Music” are unpleasant bedfellows. It states with something simple, like the odd discordant stab or over-intricate time signature, and next thing you know you’re sagely nodding your head along to a thirteen-hour guerrilla recording of sparrows farting played over the sound of a Frenchman walloping a sieve.
While there’s no overt sieve-walloping on The Money Store, there’s at least one hypothetical Frenchman, and a fair few farting sparrows.
I’d describe The Money Store as an angry barrage. It starts with a technical pace and hardly lets up, on the back of some ridiculous drums and a shouty, muffled rap style that would take a mother to truly love. The music is a red slap, a fresh scar, a runaway train that’s broken free of the tracks. It’s hugely treated with effects, leading to some tracks sounding as if their creators were submerged in water, and others sounding like everyone is fleeing from wolves. The backing synths conjure up revving engines, and even the resonant throb of the TARDIS, as if Doctor Who has regenerated into the Eminem and is rapping through a megaphone.
Despite largely disliking this cacophony, it did grow on me as it progressed. It helps that it does offer a few fresh styles, within its original parameters. There’s a hint of Bollywood and East Asian influences on a couple of tracks, and the album does build into an interesting conclusion with the disquieting hacker. My favourite song is I’ve Seen Footage, which is the sole track on the album which feels enhanced by the post-production process rather than stymied by it.
The Money Store is an interesting album, but interesting does not equate to enjoyable. I appreciate the anger, and the technical skill, but I can only give this 4/10, and even that feels generous. As subtle as a punch in the throat, it’s an exercise of style over substance, and the entwined messages are broken on the altar of experimental folly.