Slang Angus, Slang Angus (Independent)

They bill themselves as a combination of reggae, funk, hip-hop and progressive rock, and on their self-titled, debut release, Slang Angus attempts to carve out a niche for this brave mix. In reality, Slang Angus is a rap album. The verses dominate every song, often to the point that choruses and instrumental breakdowns seem like a step backwards, a pause for a breath, or perhaps an afterthought.

It’s a good thing then that the verses are intense. Emcee CO’s lyrics and delivery have a rare edge to them. From the music industry critiques of “Radio” and “The Cash In” to the metaphysical wordplay of “Footage,” there is palpable sincerity present, and at times linguistic brilliance. The grooves, while back seat and not particularly memorable, work well with the rapper’s aggressive style.

However, these same verses were the biggest barrier to enjoyment for me. They wax between an appealing positivism and a less enjoyable haughtiness and have a tendency to preach rather than illustrate, to give abstractions and vague judgments instead of a story. “All Star Sunday” portrays an insecure, shallow young woman meandering through life, and this kind of specific, hands-dirtying, authentic songwriting should be a model for future efforts by Slang Angus.