Released: 24th April
With the release of mixtape Ex-Military last year, fans and critics alike have been spending their time trying to grow accustomed to the sound of Death Grips. The Sacramento trio’s abrasive, heavy-synth sound accompanied alongside dark lyrical content has gained a lot of love from those who have heard it, but have they really gotten use to it? Well, with the release of The Money Store, the highly anticipated new album from Death Grips, fans will certainly have a tough time stating how used to it they really are after listening to it.
We begin with Get Got, a track featuring the first of catchy hooks on The Money Store “Get get get get/got got got got”. It also has a purposely shoddy production quality that makes the track sound like an old school hip hop song, with spiralling synths and drum beats blending together to produce a heavy layer of sound that almost chokes the throat, sounding so dirty and with a consistency that’s almost impossible to break away from. The vocals from MC Ride sound almost spoken-word, and appear to have been split layered to ensure that Get Got remains constantly full on without any breaks for breath.
Following on is The Fever (Aye Aye), which fortunately doesn’t spread the thick blanket of noise from Get Got any further, but does instead include a sound that’s akin to an engine pump, with a constant swelling noise that makes The Money Store sound even more claustrophobic than it’s opener. Once again, the track is memorable with its instrumentation and catchy “Aye Aye” vocal hook. A great quality in The Money Store is the amount of vocal hooks Death Grips manage to include in pretty much all their songs, from Get Got to Aye Aye to What What in Hustle Bones, every track is memorable.
Lost Boys attempts to sound atmospheric, whereas Hustle Bones is possibly Death Grips’ most air choking attempt yet, every song has their own personality and it’s brilliant. It’s as if they depict a certain part of the brain of the character The Money Store creates; with I’ve Seen Footage being the most accessible track, possibly linking to the accessibility this character has to drugs, alcohol? I’m not too sure, but the looping synth beat is phenomenal and the vocal structure seem to be Death Grips’ attempt at sounding as hip-hop as possible, despite many criticisms which state their genre as anything but. The inclusion of Salt N Pepa’s breathy Push It sample adds an extra accessibility touch too which completes the package.
At this point, the listener might find it difficult to continue listening to The Money Store, especially if they’re experiencing Death Grips for the first time. If you find yourself in this position, then you’ve just got to persevere and make yourself dig deeper.
To be fair, you’ve also got to appreciate that you HAVE to make yourself listen further, because The Money Store is a dark, dark album. From the album cover alone, you know you’re in for an intense listen, but it’s that dark content that provides a concept, which would make you eventually fall in love with it. The abrasive, shouted vocals from MC Ride, yelling about topics such as gore, sexism, drugs, alcohol etc, alongside instrumentation that’s purposely supposed to sound broken (Hacker) or have the theme of being intentionally claustrophobic and full on gives it a portrayal of a man who’s not supposed to be likeable. It’s brilliant, and Death Grips manages to pack all of this in to songs which don’t sound too complicated at all.
The fact that The Money Store offers more of the sound many people heard and loved on Ex-Military, and yet still manage to get creeped out by some of the material on it speaks volumes in how successful and impactful it is. Death Grips have found a new way to do something old, and it’s worked really, really, REALLY well for them. The Money Store is definitely going to be an album of the year contender for me, and no doubt for other people too. If you haven’t heard it yet, then stream it below.