Below is a review I wrote for my magazine that Never Was, The Gumshoe Revue. Notice how, back then, I found it necessary to attach numbers to everything. I’ve since come around. I also compared these guys to DJ Shadow, which is just … WRONG.
Alias & Ehren
Description: Moving as Alias‘ past outings have proven to be, the Anticon artist tends to hold his favorite techniques too close to his heart, practically suffocating listeners in a sea of like-minded loops and same-y beat structures as if he were drowning them in a pasture of sweaty chest hair. Teamed with his brother Ehren, a multi-instrumentalist, Alias crafts a record endowed with more piping-hot twists and turns than a fresh-baked pretzel fashioned by a cart attendee on two hits of Orange Sunshine acid.
Lillian, named after the pair’s grandfather, is alternately subtle, mysterious, playful, skittery, jittery, glittery and glitzy, frying up the newfound sizzle of a multitude of live instruments into one, compact final product. Anything but a middle-of-the-road instrumental hip-hop album, this 13-track voyage is indebted to free-form jazz as it is to the likes of DJ Shadow, floating out a frenzied clarinet solo on “Back and Forth” like a risky long-range jump-shot and dangling ghostly samples just out of reach on the title track like a kiddie holding a treat above the family dog’s nose and lifting it higher and higher. Teasing customers in this way is perilous, but the familial duo never forget to bring the biscuit by track’s end.
Luring the listener into his homestead with Ehren’s warm sax toots, Alias dabbles in his past once he knows we’re in the fold, serving familiar dishes that are reinvigorated when juxtaposed with so many chirping, shifting signs of life. One could argue that Lillian is little more than an old Alias album, plus a few instruments, but if, say, you argued this point I’d probably have to get all meaty with you, considering this is easily the most expansive, elusive Alias album yet. And besides, one could argue a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean one should. Balls; why are we arguing anyway? I thought I was supposed to be reviewing this fucking thing. Ahhh screw it, read the grade and move on, dude … geez. [ 8.0 ] GP