Finally, New

They Hate Change

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Finally, New Review

by Paul Simpson

Tampa Bay rap duo They Hate Change have an omnivorous musical appetite. Since childhood, they've used the Internet to research and track down recordings from countless genres, with numerous localized styles of hip-hop and bass music capturing their attention as much as Krautrock, alternative, and emo. After a series of now-unfindable early releases, they put out two albums and a string of EPs on Deathbomb Arc, the fiercely independent Los Angeles label with a similarly anarchic, free-form ethos, best known for releases by genre-busting experimental rap acts like JPEGMAFIA and clipping. THC's 2020 EP 666 Central Ave., released by Godmode, concentrated on the duo's fascination with British jungle and drum'n'bass, finding common ground between triple-time Southern rap flows and screwfaced breakbeats. Finally, New, their first album for indie giant Jagjaguwar, is their most seamless fusion of styles yet, with atmospheric breakbeats creeping up on Miami bass rhythms, and the two emcees effortlessly slipping in between Dirty South cadences and East Coast flows. There's more than a little OutKast in THC's boundary-crossing spirit, and not just because they happen to be a duo with a member named Andre. Their party-friendly vibe is a perfect mixture of hyped-up exuberance and laid-back smoothness, with the urgency of the lyrics sometimes matching the head rush of the beats. "Who Next?" is a swirling blend of ragga-jungle and Atlanta-bred rap, and "Reversible Keys" (with Vritra) is an outer limits drum'n'bass excursion that drifts away from rhyme structures. "Some Days I Hate My Voice" has a striking verse addressing member Vonne's gender dysphoria, including references to transgender musicians Jackie Shane and 100 gecs' Laura Les. "Perm" is somewhere in between booty bass and breakbeat hardcore, but less fun-loving and more uneasy and spaced-out. The album cruises into the sunset with the futuristic glide of "From the Floor," which bears a feature credit from Orlando's fabulously named DJ GAY-Z. Finally, New is a fitting title for a major release by an act with a fresh, distinctive sound they've been quietly developing for years.

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