For those who dislike rap, a lot of 21st century music can be problematic. That's because hip-hop's influence is everywhere. It's in urban contemporary, it's in dance-pop, it's in Brazilian music, and it's even in contemporary Indian pop -- how many times have you dined in an Indian restaurant and noticed that the funky bhangra tune playing in the background had a Chuck D or Flavor Flav sample? And don't forget hip-hop's influence on a wide variety of alternative rock; everyone from Beck to Rage Against the Machine has benefited from hip-hop. Clyde, meanwhile, is a melodic, tuneful alternative rock band whose members sound like they were raised on rap. The New York-based foursome, whose sound could be described as Creed meets Linkin Park meets Pearl Jam and the Stone Temple Pilots, don't use rap in a brutal or terribly in-your-face way -- Clyde doesn't sound anything like Korn, (hed) pe, Kid Rock, or Limp Bizkit. Clyde's lyrics, in fact, tend to be thoughtful and reflective. On this self-titled debut album, lead vocalist Scott Moses does more singing than rapping -- just as Mary J. Blige is an urban contemporary singer who does some rapping, Moses is an alternative rock singer who raps when he feels like it. Nonetheless, the hip-hop influence is quite strong on this CD, and it is also quite organic. When Moses goes from singing to rapping, it doesn't sound contrived or forced -- it sounds perfectly natural. This release falls short of mind-blowing, but all of the material is decent; one hears Clyde's potential on substantial tracks like "As Good as You Hate" and the realistic, if cynical, "Good Guys Finish Last." Those who like their alterna-rock laced with lots of hip-hop should have no problem enjoying this early 2000s release.
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