Whereas Tim Fite's last release, Over The Counter Culture (free as a digital download), was a sort-of hip-hop delivered critique of consumer culture, Fite goes pre-war Americana for his second Anti release, Fair Ain't Fair. Think county fairs, a traveling circus, a western saloon, and then pile on top of it the multifarious electronic samples and reference points to form the apocalyptic vision that awaits here.
To label Brooklyn-based Fite as idiosyncratic would be an understatement. His lyrics are absurdist and his music so bricolaged that many listeners won't make it past the first few bars of the opening track, "Roots Of A Tree," which drops the F-bomb and displays Fite's visceral rapping technique accompanied by a twinkly carousel keyboard part. Other songs are almost pastoral, breezy and minimal, showing off a sweet melancholy drawl accompanied by simple, plucky acoustic guitar, as in "Heaven Is War" and "Thought I Was A Gun."
The latter's lyrics include the verses, "Thought I was gun sitting on another gun," "Thought I was a dress wearing that other dress," and "Thought I was a band playing with their mother's band," with a chorus of "Spend a lot of time alone." The simplicity of the music and lyrics here contrast with the following track, "The Names Of All The Animals," that swells with cacophonic voices and brims with clanky instrumentation, all to a jerky beat.
Through all the stylistic shifts--both vocal and instrumental--Fite retains the Americana theme and pulls what could easily become random and unwieldy into a unified concept album that proves a compelling glimpse at a quirky musical mind. • Katy Henriksen
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