The Physics, ‘Digital Wildlife’ (self-released)
“Digital Wildlife” is the fourth and best album from The Physics, an artful change of pace for Seattle’s beer-drinking, South End hip-hop crew. The collection is billed as a conceptual piece about analog and digital recording techniques. That doesn’t necessarily come through, but there is a different sound — rich reds and yellows of past anthems like “Coronas On Madrona” traded for purples and blacks. It’s ideal for Drake fans: synthesizers, shadows, beta-male point of view.
“Fix You” is the double peak, a halting pop song in which Thig Natural sings condescending come-ons (“let me fix you”), and then raps to a great, hip-hop outro. The reason the rap is extra-loose, he says, is because he recorded it out of his element in a beach house on Whidbey Island, away from the group’s back alley studio in Belltown.
Individual achievements on “Digital Wildlife” are noteworthy, especially Thig’s and the young pianist-turned-producer Sam Wishkoski’s. But it’s not a star vehicle. Rather, “Digital Wildlife” is The Physics’ former rappity-rap music aerated like wine, further along in a direction the group was already going.
Other new releases
Neil Young: “Live at the Cellar Door” (Reprise)
R. Kelly: “Black Panties” (RCA)
Various Artists, “Verve: The Sound of America” (Verve)
Robert Pollard, “Blazing Gentlemen” (Guided by Voices)