Album Review: Egyptian Hip Hop – Good Don’t Sleep
More than a few eyebrows were raised this year when acclaimed dance label R&S Records announced that they were releasing an album by Egyptian Hip Hop. With their last release in 2010 they were little more than a pretentious teen electro-pop band, they subsequently slipped off the radar in 2011 and had their debut album shelved. After ‘SYH’ was released this summer, though, it gradually began to look like the gamble could pay off for R&S.
The single demonstrated a much more experimental style of music with a focus on intricate rhythm sections – it’s something which is gracefully displayed throughout the duration of ‘Good Don’t Sleep’. There’s some great play between instruments in the album’s intricate jams, occasionally reaching some blissful plateaus such as with the chorus of ‘Tobago’ and the jazzy pulse of excellent second single ‘Yoro Diallo’, whilst ‘Strange Vale’ perfectly captures an out-of-this-world atmosphere in one of the most elegant tracks of the record. Dreamy Cocteau Twins impressions are present throughout the record and on several occasions in the latter half it almost feels like they’re about to drop into a kind of Bauhaus kraut, such is the relentlessly dark mood of the album, but it’s the doggedness with which they pursue this style that ultimately sums up the album’s shortcomings.
There’s nothing of their formerly commercial pop complexion, which should be a good thing, but the record winds up giving the impression that the band were focusing too much on being ‘arty’ to include any real hooks in the songs. The vocals are ever-present, and do manage to add another layer of warmth to each track, but there’s little emotion in their delivery, and subsequently they fail to ever reach a point where they are particularly engaging. With no refrain from repetitive, moody jams, the album just sounds incredibly samey, and ultimately it floats past without ever really grabbing your attention.