I promise I will get better at getting more reviews out on a more regular basis. Things have just been lately and honestly life has been getting the best of me but after spending a weekend with my dad and step-mom being in town and being able to see Lucero live, I’m starting to feel the life come back to me! Although it’s fairly late on a Monday night, I’m feeling energized and ready to listen to some new music. Time for a fresh cup of tea and a listen to Subconscious Culture’s ‘What Separates Us’.
This album starts off with an intro aptly named “Intro”. The subtle rainstorm sounds that kick this intro off really put me in a cozy mood but also had me wondering if I had accidentally hit play on my sleep sounds instead of the album. After about forty seconds of light rain, a gorgeous piano part comes in and takes over. I really can not explain the cozy factor that comes with it. I sat back, sipped on my tea, and just prepared for whatever was going to come from this eight-track album. I thought the intro was going to just slowly fade into the first “real” track but I was wrong. At about a minute into it, some crazy and expressive horns come in and the piano takes a turn into chaos. While still absolutely stunning and a true show of talent, I was surprised where this track ended compared to how it began but I was so excited to see what Subconscious Culture was going to be all about.
Much like “Intro”, “Find Your Way” went in directions that I wasn’t quite expecting. Starting off with a rap verse before gorgeous vocals take over for a stunning and beautiful chorus, I loved how this track had a sense of emotion and honesty wrapped up in it. I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge rap or hip-hop listener so my phrasing may be a bit off just because I don’t know it as well as I know the metal scene but there is a groove to this track that I found irresistible and when mixed with the varying types of vocals, I found myself anxiously awaiting the other tracks on this album because I knew each one was going to bring something different to the table. Before I move on to “Concerning Karen”, I just need to give a huge shout-out to Laryssa Birdseye. Her vocals in “Find Your Way” are absolutely staggering and chill-inducing.
“Concerning Karen” starts off with an almost reggae guitar pattern before super relaxed vocals come in. This track had me swaying in my chair completely obvious to anything else going on in my house or mind. I’ll be honest, the vocals that come in after the first intro of this track felt a bit cheesy to me but, as I mentioned earlier, I loved how this was so different from “Find Your Way” while still being clearly a track from Subconscious Culture. There’s a sense of drama and theatrics in this track that comes to fruition about a minute and a half on that made the vocal styling make sense. Although not my favorite track, I did love the theatrical element of this song.
The mood shifts completely for “Impermanence”. The amount of weight that comes with every fast-spoken word in this track just can not be put into words. I found myself with my jaw on my desk due to the emotional power felt, not heard, in this track. The instrumentation is light as the words fly by before a slow and somber yet uplifting chorus comes in. Yes, I understand that sounds like a contradiction but, when you hear it, it’ll make sense. I found myself completely lost in the movement of this track and although it’s nearly five minutes long, it felt like it was over in the blink of an eye and “Pieces of Me” rudely interrupted my bliss that came from “Impermanence”. Featuring Michael Kay and RXN, “Pieces of Me” is another super touching track but it comes with a more sultry mood than “Impermanence”. I loved that. Think smoky and sultry but with an undeniable sense of power, this track hit all of the right notes and although not my typical listen, this is absolutely a track that I think demonstrates the versatility of Subconscious Culture.
“Something Between Us” lightens the mood quite a bit compared to the previous two tracks and I was super excited about that. Even with this lighter vibe, there’s an undeniable weight that comes with every word. This was instantly a favorite of mine due to this new mood and the overall lyrical content. You know me, I won’t give it all away and you just have to hear it for yourself but I found the lyricism in this track to be just as genius as the composition. Although the tracks seem to be getting longer and longer in time, they seem to be flying by faster and faster. At five minutes long, this track is definitely a bit longer than my attention span typically allows for but somehow Subconscious Culture kept me captivated throughout this track.
The title track of this album, “What Separates Us” is the longest track at over seven minutes long but, again, I found myself completely captivated all the way through. Bringing back a bit of the vocal edge felt in the first few songs, I love the way the instrumentation matched the vocals here. It’s not a perfect mimic pattern but it’s truly genius. There are certain times where the vocals stand out and others where the instrumentation takes the spotlight. The perfect balance of this game of tug-o-war is done by Subconscious Culture so effortlessly. I wish more acts and people would take note because I feel like this is an element many musicians struggle with. Beyond that balance is the balance of a more traditional rap style with the theatrical vibe felt in “Concerning Karen”. Again, the balance is perfect and it creates a super interesting sound that I have never had the pleasure of experiencing until now. Also, before moving onto the last track– a huge shout-out to the super amazing piano solo that takes place around the three-and-a-half-minute mark! Also, there’s a plot twist at the end of this track that relates back to “Intro” the genius of putting this element at the end of this song instead of at the very end of the album… well, * chef’s kiss.
“World of Illusion” closes out this journey in the most perfect way. Another track that is absolutely that of Subconscious Culture, we get to hear Laryssa’s gorgeous voice again which is honestly just the icing on the cake. Honestly, this final track takes bits and pieces heard through the previous tracks and tie them all together perfectly. There’s passion, emotion, power, and beauty while still giving you lyrics that make you think and feel things in your bones and soul. Whether you are a lyrics person like I am or someone who loves intricate instrumentation– this track and this album overall are for you. It’s truly remarkable what Subconscious Culture has laid out in just eight tracks and I can not wait to hear more!
My Favorite Track(s): “Something Between Us”
For Fans Of: So Many Interesting Layers; Beautiful Words
Mosh-ability: 6 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Both cats slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 9.7 out of 10
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