“CT LOVE STORY” is the experimental debut album by if.abwdh & KION GR0, the brainchild of Kion Jesston Weekes and Moises Jesus Espinal, with energetic, funky rhythms, witty lyrics and delightfully free delivery.
“CT LOVE STORY” is a traditional length 13 tracks album with an LP-length of 38 minutes – with explicit lyrics. This unique musical experience is highly recommended to listen in Hi-Fi – like on Tidal or Apple Music – for the best experience.
“CT LOVE STORY” is an absolutely entertainment oriented “show”, and requires a free, relieved mindset to embrace the songs that varies from preach-like spoken words to quasi-love songs and social critics with occasional hip-hop and pop flares, with unexpected twists and surprises.
Let’s discover the songs and their different characteristics.
Track 1, Call To Action: The album opener fires off straight into the world of spoken word gospel, voiced in harmony to convey a heavy social critique which develops as the track evolves. With these edgy elements seemingly at odds with each other, it rolls hard, and carries the intention with surprising ease. It’s a shock, but a good one.
Track 2, He Was Number One: This track rolls with a well nailed ‘90s hip-hop theme, complete with all the “heavy-hitter” sounds from that era. It has a ton of energy that refuses to be held back, in line with the narrative of the song, a look back from the past to the future from the perspective of the rap star, all in one, big hit.
Track 3, Funkydisco: by now it is obvious, if.abwdh & KION GR0 dedicated their album for attention and Funkydisco sounds like it was a faux-love, – even the intentionally mixed soundscape is a good addition to this pop-esque track.
Track 4, Eastside (feat Gabe Iasiello): is a surprise oddity in the album with a catchy melody and a perfect delivery in the verses: right rhythms and it all sounds genuinely like a live DJ-set. The end “cry” recalls the ‘80s pop scene and its pains, everywhere. A mid-tempo song, showing if.abwdh & KION GR0 actually could easily write and perform in the mainstream had they decided so. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers notion works quite well in the intro and the rapping fits quite well, too.
Track 5, Dark Waters: This is the first traditional length song, a semi dark-pop ballad, turning to experimental electronica with some over driven vocals in the mix. The complete soundscape is allied with steel guitars, hip-hop scratches; freestyle drum sequences and a way-out-there mix – with a great musical twist coming in the outro.
Track 6, Out Of My Head: once again if.abwdh & KION GR0 prove that they have the right skills for a traditional, more mainstream song, and they give a taste of it just to alter everything completely to their own style: Verging on the territory of a tribal/Goa vibe, yet filled with fun and lightness. Truly a good clip served to represent as an outtake from the album.
Track 7, Bachelor: a tense guitar and bass with distant drums, create a soundscape in which the lyrics is delivered as we would hear a bard from the medieval times – the counter vocals work in a different league, paraphrasing some distinct folklore-ish melodies – and of course as we come to expect, the usual twist at the end. Actually, this song is the most radio-friendly, on the album “CT LOVE STORY”.
Track 8, Burned It All: is a classic hip-hop sound mashed with funky guitars and pop-pads, diving into flat chords and a disco-trance. It ends with a world music vibe. So many things are happening, it would somehow be enough for several songs, but the complexity here works as they have managed to gel it together seamlessly, in this short but full-on track.
Track 9, Opinion: it is a good take on rap: a clearly genre critical -sounding song, one that turns into an immaculate spoken word phenomenon in its second half. Easily one of the best songs in the album – the jazz-ish outro crowns it well.
Track 10, Repo: this song visits the contemporary alt-hip-hop with a very heavy bass boost and edgy lead synths. Repo sounds like a live performance in a Rage Against The Machine concert. If if.abwdh & KION GR0 ever decide to be an honored guest in this line-up, this should be the song they perform to gain real attention. The quite artistic break in the middle of the song is initially a challenge, yet, clearly and effortlessly underpins this as an unconventional album.
Track 11, Black Sheep (feat. Emmanuel Espinal): is a romantic, quite melancholic take on how loneliness can hit hard. The song is composed in a more latin-music way, yet, the delivery and the half-tuned strings and notes are punk and show a big middle-finger to all the billboard love songs these days.
Track 12, Everything: probably the largest challenge to listen on the album “CT LOVE STORY” – on the other hand, the lyrics are serious enough to pay attention to. Although it sounds like a half-finished mix-tape demo, knowing the whole album, it feels out of place somehow. Maybe that’s the whole idea. It works! The second half of the song strengthens, and we start to hear the big picture unravel, as the artist intended. What type of music video would accompany it!
Track 13, Ghost In The Wind: this album finale brings all the trademarks if.abwdh & KION GR0 has shown us thus far: Great songwriting, a well-thought out performance with completely surprising musical and lyrical twists. Sometimes we hear a grunge-ballad akin to low-key Nirvana, then suddenly we fly into the hip-hop zone, just to arrive to an alt-pop tip, then bounce straight into artistic experimentalism. The extended outro with the rock sound and the theatrical spoken word performance with a cheeky turn at the end and the counterpart dark-synths turning into guitar shake is a well-designed celebration of cacophony and it effortlessly works on every level.
Ultimately, “CT LOVE STORY” is an unorthodox album made from a love of music and professional artistic desires, with fun, including social and cultural critics. if.abwdh & KION GR0 work well with each other – their energy shines through, never a boring moment. On the other hand, this album requires attention. It can work at a party and some of the songs in a live venue at a gig, and of course thematic radio stations and playlists. The next steps will decide how high and fast if.abwdh & KION GR0 will emerge.
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