September 13, 2007


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Northern State, Can I Keep this Pen?
Ipecac Recordings, Aug. 28
It’s sort of a painful way to avoid becoming another Andie McDowell statistic caged in a repressive suburban marriage, but surely there are far riskier ideas for avoiding conventionality than going off to start a bubblegum hip-hop circus. This Long Island trio of college grads has survived their old-school rap trip for 7 years now, at one point fighting for, you know, artistic integrity with Columbia, who probably wanted them to do the very same 80s-pop mindlessness that’s found here on songs like “Better Already,” but what sort of frightened furry animal would resort to something like that with the slow-flow ship sailed long ago? Obligato cynicism aside, there’s really no other bunch of white chicks you’d want to see doing prehistoric Run-DMC/Beasties toasting than these three, with their animalistic urban stares and amazingly clever ways with irreverent phrase. Created in the image of the Clueless girls doing ’90s radio, “Away Away” is another well-timed break from their simple rap flows. B-Eric W. Saeger.