17 January, 2014@6:22 pm
Louis Logic is a product of the early 2000′s indie hip-hop movement, which saw many underground artists that were fed up with the major label system, venture out on their own to release their music. This movement spawned many staples of the backpack rap movement – including this website – along with many other establishments such as Fat Beats, Stones Throw, Rawkus, and more. Alongside names like Eminem, Little Brother, and Talib Kweli, the movement gave birth to Louis Logic, who struck gold with a “hit” single “Factotum”, followed by a cult-classic debut, Sin-A-Matic, some ten years ago.
Louis Logic has sporadically released music over the last decade, largely teaming with producer J.J. Brown, who expertly produced both Sin-A-Matic, and its follow-up, Misery Loves Comedy. But after being disillusioned with the scene that birthed him, Lou ventured out with his Spork Kills offshoot project, described as a “Surf/ Hip Hop/ Balkan fusion band”, which pretty much was exactly what it sounds like it is. While the project saw brief support from MTVu, it failed to catch on, and left his core fanbase disgruntled.
Look On The Blight Side is Lou’s new first solo project since 2006. This may be considered his first “true” solo effort, as during his time off, he’s come into his own as a producer and a live musician, not having to rely on others for beats.
The production style of Look On The Blight Side is slightly less “boom-bap” than that of previous creator J.J. Brown, but musically the sound is still classic Louis Logic. The main difference here is that Lou is incorporating folky, sung vocals into each of the tracks, in some sort of demonstration of his multiple talents. The hooks, which are included on most of the songs, find Louis singing in a multi-layered, high-pitched, Peter Paul & Mary-esque style, meshed with his usual brand of well-written, darkly humorous rhymes.
However this shift in style ultimately hurts Look On The Blight Side, an already bleak album. He pulls back on the singing on “A Day Late and A Dollar Short”, which is sort of a more depressing take on indie rap failure than what was found on J-Zone’s Peter Pan Syndrome. This track sets the stage for the album perfectly, not overusing the singing, setting up what could have been a great LP.
However as the album progresses, Lou gets more comfortable with his singing, as “The Joke’s On You” employs it a bit more, while its follow-up, the two-part “Don’t Care” is only singing. By the time “Bet The Farm”, the album’s fourth track comes in, another with a folky sung hook, it becomes very clear that this is the direction he wants to take his music in, like it or not. Almost defensively, Lou seems annoyed by critics and fair weather fans on “Chip Off The Old Blog”, almost guessing that they might shun this album, and hitting them with a venomous pre-emptive strike.
Yet its not to say that this album is complete failure. From both lyrical and production standpoints, Look On The Blight Side is a very well put together, thoughtful LP, most notably on the dedication to his mother, “Across The Water”. Unfortunately, the album’s depressing themes of death, loss, and failure are not helped by Lou’s experimentation with singing all of the hooks, which ultimately hurts the final product. From the sounds of things, Louis Logic may be down in the dumps. But he hasn’t lost his talent, he just may not be harnessing it right.
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