Big Terror shows how diverse hip hop can be when paired with quality music
When people think hip hop, the last thing they usually think of is music that feels like a good chunk of it came from the 1960s or 1970s. Yet, with the self-titled album, “Big Terror,” presented by Buttercuts Records, has taken that kind of sound and laid down a set of intriguing verses over what could have just as easily come from a wide array of 1970s movie soundtracks in particular.
It’s an unlikely marriage that for the most part works well. After an instrumental to open the album titled “Great Balls of Fire” that sounds nothing like the classic rock track from Jerry Lee Louis but is great on its own, the album shifts around to the point where you won’t quite know what to expect from track to track.
Starting off with standard Brit-pop on “Good Question,” it moves into a bluesy, pop-driven feel with “Feed the Impossible,” followed by a slowdown track that relies on the pianos to set the tone.
Probably the most interesting part of “Big Terror,” though is the fact that while they borrow heavily from different types of music, there’s a thread of hip hop that fits like a glove onto every song. Perhaps more than any other recent albums, “Big Terror” shows just how versatile rap can become if you find high-quality music to pair it with.
And while not every track works as well, “Clouds and Sheets” and “Drown in the Ocean” are quite skippable, listening to this album you still feel as if you’ve wandered into a scientist’s lab where anything goes as long as it sounds cool. I appreciate that experiment-driven spirit no matter the medium, but especially in music where artists are tasked, perhaps more than ever, to conform into an established sound.
Let me make this extremely clear, though, Big Terror doesn’t conform to any one genre. That’s what makes it worth hearing, in fact.
Their official bio states that they are, “a three-piece made up of unlikely musical heroes who fate brought together following a maelstrom of misfortune,” it continues, “Now some say misery is the great inspirer and you can believe this if you will, but it sure has helped the members of BIG TERROR create a truly unique collection of songs which nod at 70’s movie soundtracks through indie to deep authentic hip hop.
Based in Great Britain, two of the three performers, Rebel ACA (with ACA standing for Anti-Clockwise-Attitude) and French Monkey Wrench also recently released an album with just the two of them titled “Sunday’s Cool.”
You should definitely check that one out, as well, but, this review wouldn’t be complete without a word on the small intro bits before almost each track on “Big Terror.”
If it’s just the three of them talking about fudge, or playing musical diddies with drinking glasses, these bits add a human touch to the album that makes you appreciate that the sound you’re hearing is coming from actual musicians with actual feelings, thoughts, ideas and opinions. As a reviewer who does nothing but listen to the music before writing these, that’s always a great reminder.