The Life of Riley

The Life of Riley

by Drapht

CD

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Overview

The Life of Riley

Previously confined to the underground clubs of Melbourne and Sydney, the Australian hip-hop scene has recently begun to penetrate the mainstream, thanks to ARIA Award-winning releases from Bliss N Eso and Hilltop Hoods, and this chart-topping fourth effort from Perth-based MC Paul Ridge, aka Drapht. Released through his own The Ayems label, it's not difficult to see why The Life of Riley has struck a chord with native audiences. There are shades of N.W.A on the police-baiting anthem "Take the Party with Us," and Dr. Dre on the plinky piano chords of "Good Morning," but for the most part, the former Syllaboliks Crew member has left his West Coast influences behind to produce a record bursting with originality, humor, and an eclectic streak that proves he's no one-trick pony. Told from the perspectives of three saloon-hopping cowboys, "We Own the Night" is a enthralling collaboration with Mantra and Urthboy given a suitably Wild West flavor thanks to its Morricone-esque guitars; "People Don't Know" effortlessly combines singer/songwriter Abbe May's howling Patti Smith-esque vocals with brooding the xx-style dark atmospherics, while "R.I.P. J.R." sees Drapht kill off the Jimmy Recard character of his breakthrough hit in a haze of military rhythms, winding psychedelic rock solos, and sinister robotics before ending with a clever use of Laura Nyro's "Jimmy Mac." It's not the only inspired sample. "Down" is a Play-era Moby-style slice of dirty electro-blues that borrows the chorus of Tim Buckley's "Pleasant Street," the infectious lead single "Rapunzel" uses the jangly garage rock of forgotten '60s outfit the Heirs' "Don't You Love Me" as its backdrop, and "On and On" is a Slick Rick-sampling fusion of producer Trials' appropriately slick beats and swirling Hammond organs. The need to cover all bases doesn't always work. "The Paul the Dan" is a tedious rap battle that sounds like a leftover from a sub-8 Mile urban flick, "Murder Murder" is a misguided attempt at melodica-driven lovers rock, and the meandering bluesy solos on "Air Guitar" are perhaps more fun to play along with than to listen to. But at 18 tracks, the quantity-to-quality ratio is surprisingly high, and while it may be a little too schizophrenic for some, it possibly stands a better chance of translating outside its Antipodean origins than any other of his fellow Aussies' output.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/12/2011
Label: Sony Import
UPC: 0886978939425
catalogNumber: 7893942
Rank: 143047

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