The Inner West Sydney hip-hop crew Triple One set the bar high for themselves. In 2020 they delivered a blockbuster debut, ‘Panic Force’. Now they’re back with their inaugural mixtape, ‘A Dangerous Method Vol. 1’ – and they’ve dipped their toes into rave. But is it a statement or a stopgap?
Triple One – MCs Obi III Terrors and Marty Bugatti, singer Lil Dijon and DJ/producer Billy Gunns – made number 8 on the ARIA Albums Chart with ‘Panic Force’. Yet, inevitably, its promotion and Triple One’s momentum was constrained by COVID-19, with border closures and distracted audiences.
As such, ‘A Dangerous Method’ – the first of two volumes to materialise in 2022 – can be read as a strategic post-pandemic enterprise, enabling Triple One to tour and further capitalise on their July appearance at Splendour In The Grass. They aired the lead single, ‘Blood Rave’, last September – the carnal electronic R&B track co-produced by Lucianblomkamp, with Dijon stealing the show.
For ‘Panic Force’, Triple One introduced “a post-apocalyptic space theme”. In contrast, ‘A Dangerous Method’, a collection of tracks accrued during lockdown, lacks an obvious focus. It does share a title with David Cronenberg’s absorbing 2011 film about Sigmund Freud, the pioneering psychoanalyst’s so-called ‘talking cure’ once igniting controversy.
But, plunderphonic soundbites of Freud associate-turned-rival Carl Jung aside, the cerebral concept isn’t developed – even as Triple One’s lyrics explore hedonistic impulses and the vagaries of romantic relationships, both longtime preoccupations. The latest single, ‘Neon Dreamboat’, might be a lovelorn Trippie Redd ballad, an Auto-Tuned Marty rap-singing: “Holy fucking shit / I fell in love with her… Holy fucking shit / I think I fucked it up.”
‘A Dangerous Method’ won’t be mistaken for an album in the same way, say, Stevan’s pop’n’B mixtapes ‘Just Kids’ and ‘Ontogeny’ were. But it does contain bangers, Triple One retaining their art-rap ethos and approaching ‘A Dangerous Method’ as an opportunity to further experiment with styles beyond rap – welcomingly assisted by buzzy Sydney producer 18YOMAN, who, since ‘Panic Force’, was credited on Kid Cudi’s ‘Man On The Moon III: The Chosen’.
Invariably, Triple One are compared to Brockhampton as a movement unto themselves. And, as the US ‘boyband’ did on 2018’s ‘iridescence’, the Sydneysiders revel in rave, big beat and drum ’n’ bass. ‘Gunshow’ is The Prodigy with a trap twist. The song pivots on quiet-loud dynamics, Dijon crooning spectrally, “Ooh and it’s not just what it seems / Ooh won’t you burn me at the stake / Ooh there’s nothing, nothing I ever could want.” ‘Smoke and Mirror Machine’ merges Cybotron’s throbbing electro and Vangelis’ ambient synthscapes, Obi ’fessing up to coping mechanisms: “I was doing cocaine on my worst day.”
Like Dominic Fike, Triple One are also adept at importing cloud rap tropes into alt-rock. Among the mixtape’s quieter moments, ‘Ghost’ is a grungy ode to an absent love that climaxes with strings. Obi raps poetically, “I keep my feelings in backpack, in the backyard, under dirt / With the earth and the worms / They are cold, but they don’t hurt / I don’t know why I divert. Is it better? Is it worse?”
‘A Dangerous Method Vol 1’ may not be the vehicle that takes Triple One to the next level. But it shows the group are back on track after the derailment of the pandemic, and ready to forge deeper into unexplored sonic territory.
- Release date: April 8
- Record label: Independent