Hail Mary Mallon, Are You Gonna Eat That?

Nate Patrin

By Nate Patrin

on 04.18.11 in Reviews

Are You Gonna Eat That?

Hail Mary Mallon
Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic combining forces seems long overdue

Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic are so stylistically simpatico that the idea of them combining forces for a whole album seems long overdue. They're both Definitive Jux alumni and producers/MCs who have a habit of cloaking their lyrical perspective behind elaborate abstraction. The only drawback to them working in tandem is that their approaches might overlap a little too well. But Hail Mary Mallon — an underground hip-hop power trio rounded out by turntablist DJ Big Wiz — actually does a subtle job of highlighting their contrasts, even as they play up their paired strengths. Are You Gonna Eat That? finds Aesop Rock at the top of his sardonic, wisecracking game, comporting himself with his usual blend of bemusement and anxiety, while Rob Sonic lets his disconnected invective provide a somewhat darker, more conceptual foil; Aes tends to set the scene, while Rob shoots it from confusing but intriguing angles. The results span quasi-apocalyptic doomsaying ("Church Pants"), panic-attack party rock ("Breakdance Beach"), and getaway-car skulking ("Holy Driver"), the kind of scowl-driven yet catchy stuff that works just as well for raised-hoodie sulking as it does for windows-down cruising. And it's all complimented by production work heavy on fuzzed-out acid-rock guitars, John Carpenter-like synths and hydraulic-pressed '88-mutation beats that seethe like the hip-hop equivalent of sludge metal.