2004 sophomore effort from RJD2 reissued on clear blue wax. Since We Last Spoke might catch you off guard if you aren't open and ready. In place of Deadringer's dusty loops and disembodied soul samples, we find rock guitars and actual singing. Combined with Def Jux' promo commercials touting press quotes like "catchy enough to sell a million Volkswagens, passionate enough to break your heart," it's easy to wonder: is your boy RJD2 is gassed up on some Moby shit? Don't get too worried. While this disc is at times more accessible to mainstream ears, it's also a very experimental (and potentially fanbase-alienating) sophomore effort, not unlike Shadow's Private Press. For instance, take the biggest departures for RJ, "Making Days Longer" and "Through the Walls;" one is a dreamy, acoustic guitar and synth-driven girlfriend ode, the other is anthemic power pop (a la The Cars or Weezer) with jazz wandering thrown in. Both eschew hip hop aesthetics for alternative rock sounds, and it's definitely weird at first, but the joints succeed by way of well-crafted, highly memorable melodies. Lead single "Exotic Talk" and the title track are also rock-leaning, but coming from more of a sampling perspective; almost splitting the difference between the new style and the RJD2 of old. And there's still tracks that retain a Deadringer vibe, "Someone's Second Kiss" and the scratched "play that beat back" of "To All Of You" in particular, but any familiar sonics are completely overshadowed by all that's new. Personally, I enjoyed hearing RJ develop as an artist on Since We Last Spoke, from both a songwriting and a production standpoint, but I can understand how others might be turned off by the new direction. Backpackers, don't get all scurrred! 12 tracks in total.
- double clear blue vinyl pressing
- digital download included
- music label: Def Jux 2004 / RJ's Electrical Connections 2015
reviewed by Catchdubs 07/2015