Five Years of Fireworks
The first nationally distributed record by smart-alecky Pittsburgh hip-hop duo Grand Buffet is a compilation of the best tracks from a half-decade of self-released EPs, and it's a hoot. Possibly even a hoot and a half. Built primarily on vintage electronic beats and synths that sound they were sampled from early Human League albums, these solidly constructed songs aren't just silly jokes. They're silly jokes that also work as underground hip-hop every bit as credible as dozens of acts with no evident sense of humor at all. Producer/musician Jarrod Brandon Weeks has a knack for constructing maddeningly catchy hooks like the repetitive chorus of 'Oh My God, You're Weird' and the singsongy bubblegum of 'Candy Bars.' Similarly, Jackson O'Connell-Barlow is better than any number of better-known rappers, capable of tightly constructed, dexterous raps at a mile a minute as well as seemingly tossed-off one-liners and a number of bizarre, comical voices. There's not a single duff track on Five Years of Fireworks, and the best songs are good enough to make new listeners want to track down their earlier releases to see what they've been missing.