Thursday, 22 May 2014

Track Review: Subburbia - MaLIFE


We would be doing ourselves a huge injustice if we fail to mention Subburbia's latest treat. The Brazilian trio are constantly featured here on MRD, and we've sort of been made the unofficial European correspondents for the experimental menacing musicians from Curitiba. After releasing a string of lo-fi punk music, Subburbia fronted by Emil Stresser and Marina Penny decided to take the next step - hip-hop with electronica influences, including the experimental lo-fi of their earlier musical stages. This new Subburbia sound is a work in progress, but I would rather it be a work in progress than a mess, or not exist at all. Keyboardist Ernani Jr has taken a more prominent role in creating the backbone to Subburbia's music, and the inclusion of a guest sure goes a long way as heard on the below track "MaLIFE", which features Brooklyn based performance artist Labanna Babalon.


"MaLIFE" is considerably different to the music of Subburbia's past. We've already established that, but if you've read and listened to Subburbia before, you probably know them for dominating guitar riffs, live percussion, and raw bass - not to mention the sampling and twin vocals. Now the Stresser / Penny vocal duel remains on "MaLIFE", and it definitely sounds better here. The vocals are produced well, distorted at times for Babalon's vocal parts, but purely intended to fit with the lyrical theme. Subburbia's biggest musical advancement comes with the use of an electronic beat and layered vocals - this actually creates a hip-hop / shoegaze haze of noise with clearly spoken verses by the Brazilian duel of voices: "Cocaine is just like honey." Lyrically, "MaLIFE" doesn't differ too much from songs of Subburbia's past, but there’s certainly a bigger focus on care-free living here, especially with the capitalised title 'LIFE', which only signifies the rebellion which has been brewing out of Subburbia since their early days. Stresser / Penny sing on the chorus: "I get high cause I love, get drunk if I want, it it's my life - I would die for it," further confirming this angst which has both fun and serious tones when read. There's more to Subburbia than their location in 2014, that's for sure.
~Eddie Gibson

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