Rating: 4 out of 5 Potholes
It has been three years since the Gainesville, Fla. foursome released a formal LP (not counting 2008’s Starship Utopia, which was more of a collection of unreleased tracks) to follow up their acclaimed 2005 album, Evolution Fight. It was worth the wait. Pretty Dark Things picks up right where Evolution Fight left off, using distinct loops, banging afro-beats, and a bit of smooth jazz to create dense, fluid soundscapes.
As the title indicates, much of this album has a lot to do with the place of African Americans in our culture and various other societal and race related issues. Taking a somewhat political agenda is nothing out of the ordinary for CYNE, but they manage to critique the follies of a generation in a non-invasive, uplifting manner, putting a fresh spin on classic alternative rap topics.
This album’s title can be taken to an even deeper level of interpretation when considering the dark undertones of many of the lyrics, as if suggesting that if changes are not made, there may be future consequences. There are also more than a few tracks that glide over ominous grooves, such as on “The Dance” and “Radiant Cool Boy”. Even looking past the immense amount of thought and detail put into creating this album, Pretty Dark Things stands out as one of 2008’s highlights simply because the music is just flat out interesting; it’s that simple.