The Four-Farmer Circus is a little less goofy than Atlanta-based foursome Minamina Goodsong's earlier albums. Note the qualifier: there's still a bodily-function-obsessed song called "Attack of the Stinky Foot," and the circus-themed inter-song skits are as silly and libidinal as ever. Overall, however, The Four-Farmer Circus has an almost -- dare it be said -- mature quality, closer in feeling and intent to De La Soul's later, more low-key albums as opposed to the manic 3 Feet High and Rising era. There are still some surprising samples in DJ T'Challa's arsenal, but songs like "Majik" and the first single, "Big" (which features an addictive chorus hook), are built on chunky '70s rock lifts instead of the quirky sampledelica of before. Similarly, some of the lyrics are as funny as ever, but there are hints of maturity and political engagement in songs like "The Porch" and "Changes." Those who want Minamina Goodsong to remain the drug-addled goofballs of their early records might be somewhat disappointed, but The Four-Farmer Circus shows admirable growth.
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