The new release from the Flying Buttresses is timely in many senses. Long time collaborators Deviant and Sebi C’s intentions on this appear to have resonated perfectly with each others in a manner that they had previously alluded to, but hadn’t quite hit square on. Both find each other never sounding so good. Both are in experimental form. Both seem determined to craft a brand of hip-hop that is not only distinctly irish, but distinctly theirs, which is always to be commended.
Yet this release is well placed in another sense: the dystopia of modern, post-IMF Ireland hasn’t really been tackled in the music of her youth to date to any great degree so far and Orson Welles attempts to address this deficit. The boredom, self depreciating humour and frustration of being twenty-something and stuck in a country that’s going nowhere (and seems to be quite happy about it), finds a voice here.
Opening track ‘God Laws’ sets the tone of helpless boredom and angry frustration with the world. The music agitates, refusing to settle into a coherent pattern, at the same time allowing ample space for Sebi C to drive the track home. “Fuck dreams” he grimly tells us. These themes of futility are repeated on many tracks throughout the release and boil over to anger often, as on ‘Buscemi Eyes’ and the excellent live bonus track, ‘More War”. On ‘Madonna and Orson Welles’ Sebi’s self depreciating, but humorous world outlook is engaging, as is the pallete of samples and stuttering beats he rhymes over.
There are some breaks from the darkness on here, as on ‘Howdy-doo-dee’ where the Mcs expertly crafted wordplay takes us through a nursery-rhyme rant of a day in the life. ‘The Flutes’ is a classic Deviant cut of sample based hip-hop and ‘Honeysuckle Pussy”s crudeness only partly masks the raw honesty of the subject matter, which bounces along over a chunky lead before fading out on a masterfully executed scratch.
But this mini-album (10 tracks, less than 20 minutes) is at it’s best when it turns to the darkness. On ‘Mother Always Worried’, our host delivers a dark mantra with hope for better times. The final track, ‘Rabbits and Frogs’ is the standout. The wonderfully surreal intro is instantly memorable before some dark soul searching in a bizarre piece recalling middle-period Radiohead’s more dystopian efforts. Backing the release are remixes by competent remixes by Sixfoot Apprentice and MyNameIsJohn, both doubling down the drums and making the tracks more viable for the ‘floor, but for the most part not straying much from the original tracks.
Deviant & Sebi C have been threatening to drop something this good for a while, so in one respect, it’s about time. Though undoubtedly an important release for Irish hip-hop, the uniqueness in style on here makes pretty damn certain there shan’t be much in the way of imitators. Nothing out there sounds like the Flying Buttresses and in a time when rap oriented hip-hop is becoming more and more narrowly defined, such straying from the norm should get the praise it deserves.