Evil Nine

You Can Be Special Too

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DJ Tom Beaufoy and producer Pat Pardy have released six singles and several handfuls of remixes since they first got together and started recording as Evil Nine in 1998, but this is their first full-length album under that name. It showcases their unique blend of hip-hop, techno, and alt-rock, and features an impressive array of guest vocalists, including rapper Aesop Rock (whose dexterous and funny "Crooked" opens the program) and reggae chatterer Toastie Taylor (whose "Restless" is a fun combination of Jamaican patois and post-punk guitar riffage). There are some fine instrumental tracks as well, such as the new wave-ish "We Have the Energy" and the album-closing "Hired Goons," which leavens a straightforward rock groove with dubwise sound effects. And yes, there are skits, and believe it or not, they're really not bad. Overall, You Can Be Special Too offers a bracing and welcome corrective to the idea that pop music has to fit in a category. Highly recommended.

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