Of course going renegade at gigs and reneging on recording contracts was always going to make Sacramento antagonists Death Grips out to be the most (at least superficially) unruly miscreants of an experimental hip hop scene woefully lacking in these sorts of heedlessly acerbic characters. Most so-called ensembles belonging to said hashed-up genre categorisation could make the likes of So Solid Crew seem a sort of Machiavellian Outlawz redux, but this continually uncompromising Californian clan – led of course by the ever enigmatic Stefan Burnett – seem the real deal in terms of attitude, if not always musical outpour. Though to do away with recent controversies a moment, as this morning’s more eager beavers awake, the worm worth the catching is Birds – an unanticipated return, and with that a return to form from these twisted firestarters.
Scrapping the caustic toxicity endemic throughout much of the similarly unannounced NØ LØV∑ D∑∑P W∏B album of yesteryear and instead favouring (dare I say it) an actual melody, a stupefied if still devilish Burnett may snarl: “I’VE GOT THIS ATTITUDE AT ALL TIMES”, frequent cris de cœur of “FUCK YOU” interpolated in a relatively sedate mix by their altogether acidic standards. Though there’s a truly uncharacteristic alacrity at play, chirpy noodling buoying the mood with breezy abandon. Sure, there’s the closing salvo that goes: “FUCK THIS BIRD BITCH DRINK THIS BLEACH” though in toning things down a touch and stripping away some of the trademark mordancy, Death Grips are exposed for what we first took them for – a pretty invigorating trio, furrowing a field infested with an ingenuity only they know.