Even after nine albums that were each consecutively stranger than the last, Busdriver's tenth outing is a jarring departure. Released in 2012, Beaus$Eros (pronounced "Bows and Arrows") finds the speed rapper changing gears and singing lazily over electro-pop beats. He incorporates three-part harmonies, complex melodies, and a washed-out production style (courtesy of Loden) that shares a lot in common with pre-So Peter Gabriel. This drastic stylistic switch marks a much-needed turning point of his career, but the concept is also so deliberately scattered that it's hard to tell if he has tapped into something far-out and brilliant or just gone crazy. As usual, he imitates a variety of characters (even contorting his voice to sound like a little girl in "Feelings") and tackles whatever idea happens to be floating around his brain in an abstract free-form style. One subject involves a musician trying to think of a band name, "Ass to Mouth" is gross satire of club music, and "NoBlacksNoJewsNoAsians" is a thought-provoking commentary on racism. Of the 54 minutes, the latter sounds closest to Busdriver's early hip-hop outings, although it is strung together without a rhyme scheme or hook. While many of the songs sidestep rap conventions completely and fit the 808s & Heartbreak rapper-goes-electro format, the best songs incorporate tuneful melodies and still manage enough room for Busdriver to show off his hyper-adventurous style of rhyming. These moments are few, but "Here's to Us" and the pleasingly glitched "Beaus$Eros" are neon jams. Beaus$Eros is fringe listening, but it could be the answer for those wondering what would happen if Spank Rock remixed TV on the Radio.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover