Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: 'Sample Sale' by Riot !n Paris



It's nice when you can set a CD to play and not have to worry about getting bored or running across a song you'll dislike.  (The CD is metaphorical, of course.  Who isn't using an MP3 player?  Besides those hipsters still buying vinyl, I mean.)  It works out especially well at the beach; no one wants to fiddle with their device with all that water and sand around, and you just want to relax.  This is why I'm glad I managed to download Brooklyn duo Riot !n Paris' latest album Sample Sale before my recent vacation.  Once I hit play, I knew I could close my eyes, soak in the sun, and count on a solid album to carry me through the day.

The main strength of Sample Sale is the sheer variety contained in it's nine tracks.  If forced to choose a genre I suppose I'd pigeonhole it as hip-hop, but that really does a disservice to the album and the band.  While catchy beats and a steady stream of fast-paced lyrics do support a large majority of the songs, there's so much more to each that it doesn't feel right designating them a single genre.  There's R&B, rock, and more that make this more than a generic Top 40 hip-hop album.  It isn't filled with simple club beats and loops; there's real musicianship going on here, a lot of it guitar-driven, and it allows for a unique sound and lends to the aforementioned variety.

If you're a listener who's more into lyrics and verses, Riot has you covered there, too.  The lyrics are as varied as the music, touching on a number of aspects of life, and it shows that Riot isn't single-minded or one-note.  Money, relationships, women, New York: Riot !n Paris is smart, relatable, and clever.  The rhymes are good, the verses flow together well, and the catchy choruses are punctuated by enough pop culture drops and certainly-drawn-from-real-life lines to keep you interested.

Sample Sale is absolutely your ticket if you're looking for something different.  You won't get bored at any point; if you somehow get your fill of it, you can check out a few of their other albums.  To make it better, a ton of their work - Sample Sale included - is free, so there's no risk to check it out.  Music is clearly important to the guys in Riot, so it's nice they're spreading the love.  That's obviously why they were the O Music Award winner for "Most Extreme Fan Outreach".  Make sure you show it back.  The only downside to the excellent Sample Sale?  It makes me really, really want to see Riot !n Paris live, and waiting for that chance is going to be rough.

http://riotinparis.bandcamp.com/

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