When People Under the Stairs actually rap, they’re an enjoyable listen. I can even imagine parts of their latest release, Fun DMC, acting as a solid contribution to a party. Clearly that’s what the L.A. duo was after, as they’re quoted as saying, “Instead of making a record about Saturday, let’s actually go out and record Saturday.” That’s a sentiment I can dig, though the band only marginally succeeds.
First of all, they were irksome right out of the gate with an unconscionable cliché—the first track, “The Swan Fever,” employs as a backdrop the sampled popping of vinyl spinning on a turntable. I hate that. If I want scratchy vinyl, I can listen to a dirt-covered record on my own turntable. On a CD it’s just a distraction that fails to create any kind of old-school vibe.
Secondly, the sub-minute interludes between each song break up momentum and take away from the raps and beats rather than add anything significant to them. Why not provide another rap or two in lieu of short bits that don’t offer much beyond disturbance of actual substance?
My recommendation: Review the samples online, skip over the annoying transitional blurbs and grab the “real” tracks.
People Under the Stairs play The Other Side Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 9 PM with Common Market, Shawn Jackson and Slopstar. $10.