You can’t get mad at originality. A hip-hop group playing its own live instruments isn’t some artistic breakthrough, but it’s still going out on a limb. Simply put, with shoddy synthesizer beats continuing to dominate the airwaves, anything organic is out-of-fashion. Finless Brown is far from the norm, but a six-piece funk/rap jam band with a Japanese vocalist teeters on the edges of innovation and novelty.
At their bests, the instrumentals are sweeping jazz numbers, though it’s not like this 5-song EP covers much musical ground. Truth be told, if you weren’t paying attention, you’d probably think the album was just a song on repeat. Drummer Dave Hudson is programmed to rock the same pattern for at least 3 of the 5 tracks, and the overall lack of variation becomes a problem. Other live groups like the Roots have been able to avoid such problems with the occasional use of sampling, guest producers, and flat out, a completely superior live band.
oincidentally enough, when “Cross My Mind” breaks down, stripping away the percussion and vocals, it’s blissfully soulful
Lyrically, it’s just shy of laughable. Curious “concepts” like that of “Gasoline” prove that you can still get away with… no concept at all. It’s just rappin;’ about nothing of significance, whatsoever. Moto’s Japanese rhyming on “Cross My Mind” is actually very tight, her flow even more pleasant than that of American emcee Paulie Rhyme’s, but there’s still a slight problem: I don’t know what she’s saying.
Although the music is rather tedious, the vocals clearly bring “Underground Superheroes” down. Paulie Rhyme is as lyrically impressive as the band that plays at the high school dance in your average mid-90’s Disney Channel movie.
“Underground Superheroes” has its redeeming qualities, but it’s still a filthy orgy. The instrumentals are tedious, the lyrics are canned rehash, and above all else, I don’t speak Japanese. At least it’s short.