Cult Favorite is New York. Producer A.M. Breakups’s sound was born upstate, and despite years making noise in the NYC underground, the rust belt embedded in his sound. Brooklyn’s own Elucid is his city in rhyme form, urgent, grating, unassailable; a leviathan.
People are going to hear this album and immediately compare the duo to Death Grips and Captain Murphy, because like the former, they feature a gruff-voiced, dark-skinned MC rapping over a light-skinned producer’s unconventional beats, and like the latter they’ve sampled Heaven’s Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite. Both comparisons are to be expected, but neither is entirely appropriate, as this project is (1) clearly, concisely structured and (2) altogether absent of spectacle-over-substance gimmickry. Don’t catch feelings over it though. Sometimes it takes a demanding listen like For Madmen Only to expose your favorite flavors of the month for the non-threatening panderers they truly are.
What Eluicid lacks in tongue-in-cheek wordplay he more than makes up for with nuanced displays of visceral honesty. His vocals are hit with a healthy dose of reverb, delay, and other effects, but these never function as crutches or cover-up; that ominously menacing mic presence is all Elucid. Likewise, A.M. Breakups’ sound never fully descends into noise territory; instead, it remains firmly tethered to the producer’s strong sense of melody. This is a good thing. When it comes to “alternative” or “progressive” music, it’s easy to bend genres through entropic madness — much more difficult and risky to try pushing the envelope while remaining faithful to a pre-existing structure.
For Madmen Only is available today via download or limited-edition 180-gram vinyl. If I’d one complaint, it’d be that the album is too damn short, but the replay value is tremendous and the Deluxe Edition tacks on an instrumental version as well two additional tracks in the form of Elucid’s “noise experiment,” Exit Tapes. Only 300 copies though, so hurry up and buy.