The Underachievers

Evermore: The Art of Duality

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Coming out of the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, the Underachievers crafted a weird world with their 2014 debut Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium, an LSD trip of an album that stunned with its psychedelics but alienated with its sprawling attitude and "third eye" mysticism. Whatever the duo were seeing out of their third eye, they had a hard time communicating it to all the "straights," but this conceptual sophomore release aims to sort all these ideas in a more sane manner, beginning with the division of the album into light and dark, a break that's marked by the dark and grinding "Reincarnation (Phase 2 Intro)." Evermore's lighter first half displays the most artistic growth as MCs AK and Issa Gold attack their Mos Def and Shabazz Palaces-styled lyrics with the force and the snarl of Migos, as producers like Nick Léon, Ashton Benz, and Lucas Savo craft diverse beats that would suit both the A$AP Mob and the Stones Throw crew. The jazz fusion joint "The Dualist" ("Division is the devil's favorite") and the late-night dream dubbed "Illusions" ("Spread that truth within these calls, gather youth to break these walls") serve as the first side's key cuts as they explore the LP's theme of choices vs. fate. The latter number gets a redo with side two's "Allusions," a much more brutal song where all roads lead to ruin. Lead single "Take Your Place" stomps through the room like a triumphant Three 6 Mafia, but it's all fallen apart by the "ready for war" number "We the Hope," where angelic puffs of synth pop are chewed up by growls and apocalyptic rhymes. Best experienced end to end, Evermore: The Art of Duality is a dense journey worth taking, but one decidedly filled with more questions and ideas than answers.

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