From the raw, edgy, old school influences of ‘Water Street’ to the ‘Bill Murray’ EP that won a Canadian Music Award in 2011 for Hip Hop Album of the Year. This EP in particular heralded this new direction for Sweatshop Union and additionally was their first release without Kyprios. ‘Infinite’ is the product of some influential refinement, it seems that Sweatshop Union’s fluid style keeps them constantly fresh and evolving. This Canadian super group has never stopped trying new things and succeeding at them. Comparatively this album has a smoother more polished sound, whilst still demonstrating the striking capability of incorporating a huge number of genres into hip-hop. This album is more electronically based, drawing more on jazz, soul and electronic influences rather than funk and rock than some of SSU’s previous releases. Obviously it is not a complete turn around but it is definitely a decided step in a new direction. They do of course stick to their MO of casual yet intensely personal lyrics with a socio-analytical backdrop.
Sweatshop Union is currently made up of six prolific members. Metty the DertMerchant, Mos Eisley, DJ Itchy Ron, Mr. Marmalade, Conscience, and Dusty Melodica. The members of Sweatshop Union also continue to perform and produce separately in addition to their work with the group. Pigeon Hole, Dirty Circus and Metty's side project Trillionaire$ have each released albums in the past few years.
Almost every song on this album has a different texture. This is one of the advantages of the collective, as there are many different sources of creativity to draw from. To demonstrate this versatility I have decided to give a short individual description to the first six songs on the album. The first track is the title track of the album. ‘Infinite’ has a laid back vibe, exhibiting jazz and soul influences whilst featuring a gorgeous silky saxophone. The second song ‘sink or swim’ is soft and dramatic at first with soothing spacious arpeggios, but it builds to a gritty climax. The third song ‘king of the beach’ starts with an angelic synth and some laser scratching. It is a great casual song with wonderful lyrics to fantasize about in the winter. This song does get a little stale by the end as it does not really progress in a satisfying way. The fourth song ‘Day off’ is another great fantasy song about having a day off. It features some prodigious vocal sampling and immoderate production giving it a very new age electronic hip-hop atmosphere. Track five is called ‘space bears’, ya. I love it, the lyrics are marvelously fun and nerdy. There is a nice initial build up, and a very epic bass beat. The sixth song ‘Nvsbl’, has a superbly simple yet epic grimy beat, profoundly philosophical lyrics and very fun vocal effects. The invisible college is a concept dating back to the 17th century, created by Robert Boyle, it is a society of free thinking natural philosophers, artists and scientists. It is also what SSU is calling it’s production team and inner circle.
This album is great for parties, relaxing, biking, driving, working and thinking. Enjoy the title track right here, or check them out here, sweatshopunion.com
Review by: Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
Courtesy of Round Table Radio