YONI & GETI – Testarossa (Joyful Noise): That’s Chicagoan rapper Serengeti and indie rock/alt hip-hop outfit WHY?’s Yoni Wolf repeating “I’m a poltergeist” like a mantra to describe the narrator of this bizarre love tale. I can’t say the supposed “story” of characters Davy and Maddy makes much sense to me, or even that I can piece one together given the few chronological details I can suss out (despite the exhaustive explanation on their website), but I think essence is a lot more important here than the nitty gritty. It’s why they opt for poltergeist rather than ghost—a ghost can be seen, but poltergeists are aloof, invisible, unwanted home wreckers, forces that have real-world effects on the people they haunt but are invisible regardless—kind of the perfect metaphor for an absent father, which is what Davy is.
So no, the narrative isn’t the draw here. It’s the startling reveal of vivid details among line after line of garbled word salad, the instrumentation that sometimes throbs and sometimes lumbers but always captures the dreamlike quality of fuzzy recollections “drowned in Crown.” Davy buys the kids a model Ferrari thinking it’s a substitute for quality time. At age thirty-five he spends more time with college chicks on the dancefloor, telling them he had his “first kid at thirty, my second kid at thirty, my third kid at thirty, my fourth kid at thirty-one,” which is how he gets down. Maddy loses her wedding ring on a beach trip. Davy interjects impulsive confessions like “I see my kids only sometimes” sandwiched between the left-field chorus “Outside, inside, in the lunchline.” And the real killer is on the penultimate track, where Davy notices the bangs his daughter who doesn’t recognize him sports are just like the ones on his twenty-two year-old girlfriend.
What exactly it all adds up to I’m not sure. But there’s something both hilarious and tragic about a booze-soaked life on the road punctuated by stinging revelations that tell you what kind of person you are. It’s like life in that way—hazy, indistinct, beautiful and funny and sad all wrapped up in one. Or, you know, the latest entry in the ever-so-popular genre of alt-alt-alt-rap or some shit. A MINUS
Serengeti – Kenny Dennis III (Joyful Noise ’14): A MINUS
Serengeti – C.A.B. (Anticon EP ’13): B PLUS (*)
Serengeti – Kenny Dennis LP (Anticon ’13): A MINUS
Serengeti – Saal (Graveface ’13): A MINUS
Serengeti – Kenny Dennis EP (Anticon EP ’12): A MINUS
Serengeti – C.A.R. (Anticon EP ’12): A MINUS
Tha Grimm Teachaz – There’s a Situation on the Homefront (Breakfast ’11): A MINUS