The path between punk and hip-hop is largely well trodden but even on the most travelled routes, there’s always a sneaky shortcut or an avenue no-one’s been down before. MSPAINT meld together the acerbic and uncompromising sound of rap and hardcore on their debut LP ‘Post-American’. Imagine the cross-pollination of Show Me The Body, Death Grips and Turnstile, and you’ll have a good idea of what this four-piece offer up. The Mississippi quartet’s primary offering is a tour-de-force sonically and lyrically it finds itself navigating its way through a chaotic modernity where technology rules and human values are threatened.
It’s apt that a song titled ‘Information’ kicks off ‘Post-American’, given that nowadays we’re inundated by so much of it, we’re pretty much drowning in data. Without much ceremony, the group launch into their aggressive yet danceable sound that’s powered by crunchy synths (Nick Panella), rapid drums (Quinn Mackey) and driving bass (Randy Reilly). Vocalist Deedee provides a frantic rapped delivery, as the group’s mouthpiece offers up the defiant words, “your spirit is true/confident that you’re going to break through.” ‘Post-American’ is littered with nuances related to authenticity in a world plagued with deep fakes and imposters; this is typified by Deedee declaring, “wear a heart on my sleeve to remember my truth” on the punchy ‘Think It Through’. Where resilience stands firm on the group’s first album, so does nods to vulnerability and human fragility. On the same track, Deedee expresses a fleshy openness “exposing all the feelings I can’t seem to get right” that offsets nicely alongside his more confident wordplay.
As you wind your way through ‘Post-American’s tangled walls of gnarled electronics and raucous drums the themes of modern living present themselves like relatable Easter eggs waiting to be discovered. ‘Delete It’ featuring Ian Shelton from Militarie Gun, captures a desire for a more tangible existence away from influencers and prefabricated online personas “I just want to feel it/not delete it/something realer and distinguished”. While the simplified coda of ‘hardwired to your brain’ on its semi-eponymous track speaks for itself via an ever-present moment of rap-punk chaos. Paranoia seeps into the psyche of ‘Decapitated Reality’s feral digital hardcore, which eventually transforms into a woozy synth odyssey. With help from Soul Glo’s Pierce Jordan, MSPAINT detail a world of constant surveillance and digital claustrophobia “overwhelmed by the truth/more eyes on them/more eyes on you.” The record’s titular track takes on an almost apocalyptic stance where a digital scree slithers at a menacingly slow pace while Deedee yowls “burn all the flags and the symbols of man” like someone ushering in day zero of nation that’s just collapsed in on itself.
‘Post-American’ concludes with two tracks that bristle with a fist-clenched boldness; ‘Titan of Hope’s hip-hop bounce and scrunched up noise has Deedee stating, “we’re not scared anymore/my mindset is a titan of hope” as if to stare down forces of oppression. Closing track ‘Flowers from Concrete’ is the noisiest, most uncompromising moment on the record – it’s as if MSPAINT have prepared themselves for the album’s final siege. Provoking the image of a bruised and battered protagonist, Deedee barks the steadfast words “waiting for the dream to fade/but it starts to feel real”, which harks back to ‘Delete It’s quest for genuine connection and a life away from a quasi-digital (virtual) reality.
MSPAINT are looking for something to believe in – you could do worse than believing in them.
“Captivated by a world we cannot control”
Purchase Post American by MSPAINT HERE
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