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The Pirate Sygnl

Norma(l): Hugh Manchild's American Revolution(s) (Axumite Recordings)

Far too many MCs use a lot of syllables to say virtually nothing. Fortunately, Bdbeyond and Yonnas, the Pirate Sygnl's main mouthpieces, are exceptions to this rule. Their socially conscious, furiously political declarations make Norma(l) a rap album in which the raps actually matter.

Neither Bdbeyond nor Yonnas has a flow for the ages, but the passion and anger they pour into the likes of "Government Church," keyed by lines such as "Fuck this dirty country/And fuck its dirty laws," keep the tracks compelling. The musical contributions of DJ Psycho and Joey K. are just as important. Rather than rely on played-out sonic elements, they draw from a dizzying variety of sources -- "Meet the Pirate Sygnl!" includes medieval chants, of all things -- to create a mix that's dark, dense and consistently ominous. The result is uneasy listening in the best sense of the phrase.

The voices of protest broadcast by this Sygnl come through loud and clear.

 
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