New York City’s Swell (Sean McGaughan) traverses mundane experiences and observations of life in the Big Apple to deliver a clever array of rhymes on his group’s latest four-track EP. And even if his style might cross paths with artists like Slug of Atmosphere, his musings seem inspired but never lifted from the rhyme books of his contemporaries.
Perhaps it’s his own sarcastic ruminations on “Back and Forth” that prove Swell and his cohorts—including MC Sentence (who’s absent on this release) and producer Matt Stine—have what it takes to separate themselves from a growing hoard of mediocre hip-hop. On the tune, Swell discusses a night out in Manhattan and pinpoints the types of intoxicating substances favored by particular subcultures. The track takes a hilarious turn when he aims his target at hipsters and their PBR-drinking ways as he raps, “Look at this dude over here on the left/Paid a hundred fifty bucks to look like a mess/Black hair, black shirt, blue jeans, black glasses/I swear to god, these hipsters got it ass backwards.” From lines like that, it’s evident Swell and his partners will continue to dish out witty, contemplative and perceptive lyrics about life in the city that never sleeps. Let’s hope their next effort will be a little longer. (Ira Sather-Olson)
Metermaids play the Badlander Thursday, Aug. 30, at 9 PM, with Dark Meat, Acadia and The Asteroid and DJ Naj. $5.