Leon Michels circles back on 2005’s Sounding Out The City, the sound that put us onto El Michels Affair in the first place. The ensuing years saw Michels co-found Big Crown Records with Akalepse, amass a seemingly unending rap sheet of stellar session work and a pair of Wu-Tang-focused cover records which took big band hip-hop worship to new levels, making Adult Themes his first full-length return to original compositions since SOTC. It’s evident before you even take off the shrink wrap that this one’s the result of a healthy binge on french psych pop library sleaze a la Melody Nelson, Le Mariage Collectif, etc. Opener “Enfant” is the mise en scène with summery acoustic guitar plucks, blaxploitation flute and some highly evocative cooing from the faceless Birkin to Michel’s Serge (don’t quote me but I’m almost certain its shorty from The Shacks). Centerpiece “Life Of Pablo” begins with the shriek of a newborn baby (Michels’ kid), slowly settling into the sort of gargantuan stadium-sized cop funk that Just Blaze would have lost his shit over in 2002. The album’s grander suites are garnished with a smattering of byte-size pizzicato weirdness and single-serving breakbeats. This the type of shit that makes me want to dust off my sampler and start making beats again. Magnifique! Black vinyl version, highly recommended.
- black vinyl pressing
- music label: Big Crown Records 2020
reviewed by naffi sandwich 10/2019