Album review: Thunderheist
There are plenty of pervs in pop’s roll-call of corruption, from Jerry Lee Lewis and Geto Boys to The Macc Lads and even Girls Aloud. However, if there’s just one variety of music you’ll still think twice about exposing mum and dad to it’s lean, ruff, bare-ass and “dirty, not like Fergie/Ain’t the Black Eyed Peas” electro-rap purveyed by Miss Amanda Blank (responsible for that particular Will.i.am-baiting line), Yo! Majesty and the baddest of them all, Baltimore heroes Spank Rock. Now, add Toronto’s Thunderheist and their similarly raunchy aesthetic to this infamous list.
But have Isis and Grahm Zilla, who set blogs a-twitter with their ‘Sweet Dreams’-sampling ‘Sueños Dulces’ in 2007, arrived a bit too late to the (sex) party? Not only have we heard an awful lot of this sort of thing recently, the world has become so explicit that middle-shelf magazines declare they’re featuring the ‘best tits of 2009’ on a weekly basis, while every high street has a porn megastore and Christian popstrels get to Number One by telling titillating lies about kissing girls. Isis’ lewd lines on this debut arrive, then, as the law of diminishing returns for all things brazenly sexy begins to set in.
In fact, so normal and neutered do these attitudinal, woman-in-control-and-on-the-prowl rhymes (“I don’t do partners, I just do transactions”) seem, that they’re likely to pass by undetected by even Mr Angry from Tunbridge Wells. Isis’ talk of jerking it off, jailbait, bending over and tapping the booty just aren’t clever, surreal, skewed or, disgraceful enough to provoke the same kind of amused grimace that Ghostface Killah, the ex-imprisoned one from Yo! Majesty or Thunderheist’s ace labelmates New Flesh might, even if ‘Jerk It’ and ‘Sweet 16’ are brilliant strip-joint bangers.
It’s just as well, then, that Isis’ partner in grime, Mr Zilla, sends ‘Thunderheist’ out clad in more than just burly, naked electro; the shiny, R&B-leaning ‘Nothing 2 Step 2’ and the silver-plated future-disco of ‘Space Cowboy’ both come with nary a mention of either sexual position or licking anything. On these and ‘Freddie’, which sees her belittling a snotty cokehead, Isis forgets all about her seduction and those self-imposed, durrrty characters of hers and sounds just like the fun, sassy and likeable MC she is onstage.