It's a somewhat daunting task, trying to describe an act as completely original and unique as Curse ov Dialect. Trying to review an album as diverse as "Wooden Tongues" within a set word limit. Even trying to find somewhere to start the review, somewhere to begin making sense of the indescribable, for the reviewers own peace of mind, let alone the reader's eye, is all a somewhat overwhelming experience. As is listening to this album. But I mean that in the good way.
Curse ov Dialect are left field. Way left field. So far left field they aren't really on the same field as anyone else. and thank God for that. In an era when almost every modern hiphop act is just a generic recreation of an old act, or a blending of two acts to slot into one of today's countless pointless nonsensical musical sub-genre's, it's refreshing to hear a group like Curse ov Dialect. So exceptionally creative and imaginative in their music, yet so well developed and unable to be pigeon-holed.
Before I get down to really singing their praises, let me first get what few criticisms I have, out of the way. They lose me sometimes. Some of the lyrics are way over my head, or maybe just on a completely different wavelength to where I'm at. That's not a necessarily a negative thing however. From what I understand, half the point of Curse ov Dialect is to make people think in different ways, to make the listeners step outside the box for a second. But if you love generic braggadocios boom bap a bit too much, you probably won't dig these guys, they do take a bit of effort to get into at first. If you're an open minded soul, I have no doubt you'll be a fan, eventually.
Ok, let's get down to the praise singing. I'll start with the beats. Paso Bionic handles the majority of the production and the cuts. Major kudos go to Paso. The beats are extremely lush, deep, huge. He's sampled everything, from rock, opera, gypsy, bollywood, etc, blended it all with some classic drums, and managed to craft some extremely musical, yet still hype beats. The dynamism and speed of the beat change ups, breakdowns and bridges gives the album a somewhat party-ish vibe. Like watching a damn good turntablist making the most obscure records in his collection sound funky as hell.
The themes in the tracks vary (as does everything on this album, really). "Sticks and Stones" is an honest and reflective song about growing up and childhood, whilst on "Strawberries" they show some nifty story telling skills and get into the topic of lust. "Broken Feathers" is a sweet love song with an addictive hook; "Saturday Night" is about Saturday night (duh.). "Take Me to the Arab World" is an interesting political based track, which manages to retain its listenability without getting preachy. There is an underlying environmentalism theme running through the album, but it isn't overpowering in any way.
The variety in the delivery really is quite phenomenal. All 4 MC's/Vocalists successfully change their flow, from rapid-fire double time rhyming, to smooth crooning, while touching everywhere in-between. Volk Makedonski is completely non-stop on "Letter to Athens" both in flow, and well researched subject matter. All MC's ride the beat beautifully, yet in completely different ways on "Forget", especially Raceless. One of the ongoing highlights of the album is hearing how the MC's alter their flows to suit the countless beat changes. They pull it all off very nicely.
These guys encapsulate Melbourne in their music; the multiculturalism of the city and the cultural backgrounds of the Curse ov Dialect members themselves are reflected beautifully by their musical influences. This whole album could be a soundtrack for their home city. It's a beautiful, hectic, chaotic form of madness.