Perfect Hair

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Saying that rapper Busdriver is a mash of Danny Brown, Wu-Tang Clan, and Frank Zappa doesn't get at how avant and prickly the man can be. Fans rightfully think that he wears those qualities quite well, and with Perfect Hair, they have an album to advocate it, as a handful of approachable numbers help to give context for all the free jazz rhyming and bumpy musical riding throughout. With Aesop Rock and Danny Brown on the assist, plus Brainfeeder regular Jeremiah Jae on production, the grinding manifesto "Ego Death" is the main attractor, barking out Busdriver's modus operandi Death Grips style ("I slip militant mantras between my cries and gripes") while offering an uplifting hook to hang on (a repeated "We can make this better" is the chorus) plus a quotable that would make both Lil B and Kool Keith jealous ("Duck boy shit is quacktastic"). The bright beat Kenny Segal puts under "Eat Rich" might actually be malfunctioning, and yet Busdriver's "I'm so hungry man, I could eat the rich" is so universal it should be a T-shirt. Then there's "King Cookie Faced (For Her)," where silly, mocking, and pointed lyrics shoot shots at macho stances and bad romances over what sounds like They Might Be Giants having an electro jam on acid. Easy enough, and yet numbers like "Retirement Ode" and "Bliss Point" bury their treasures in angular sounds, brittle beats, and ever-changing melodies, requiring much more "effort" from the listener. Still, this is rich and delicious. Perfect Hair contains all the usual reasons Busdriver is wonderful, just with a little more sugar baked in.

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