September 13, 2011 - Fake Four Inc
Astronautalis may not have the controversy that surrounds Eminem or the swagger of Jay-Z, but for the better part of a decade, he has consistently crafted some of the smartest hip-hop music in the underground—and his fourth album, This Is Our Science, proves the MC is equally as adept at improvisational freestyles as he is at crafting hooks that will stay lodged in your lobes indefinitely. In that spirit, "Thomas Jefferson" has a gritty Tom Waits vibe if Waits could effortlessly rhyme (and enunciate), and "Midday Moon" is a downbeat anthem that eschews extraneous instrumentation to further focus on his skillful syncopation, while "Secrets On Our Lips" has more in common musically with Modest Mouse than it does Mos Def. At this point in his career, Astronautalis clearly isn't afraid to take chances, whether that means unapologetically including a pop-friendly tune ("Contrails," which features Tegan And Sara's Tegan Quin) or a piano ballad ("Measure The Globe") for good measure. Speaking of which, maybe the reason why Astronautalis isn't bigger than he should be is because to call him a "rapper" would grossly oversimplify what he accomplishes with This Is Our Science. Our advice? Forget about labels and just listen.