I know it’s been a hot minute since I last touched base with a review but such is the erb and flow that is life that everything changes and yet seemingly remains the same. That is the message I got listening to Factor’s album Lawson Graham. Good things are definitely coming out of Canada right now and Factor is one of the highlights. This album, dedicated to his grandfather, has a likeable musicality to it and the heavy melodies are easy to sing along to. There is something for everyone here but for those of you into indie or guitar music fused with hip hop, you are in for a treat. Don’t get me’ wrong it’s not all live guitars and drums, but you get the picture. I have to admit this sort of album is right up my street as I have always been partial to live music in hip hop.
The album kicks off with the short intro ‘Bengough Station’ and into the standout ‘Missed The Train’ featuring Gregory Pepper. There’s no raps on this song so straight off the bat you realise this is not your regular hip hop album, it’s more than that. This is repeated a few more times as you go through the songs. I know some will ask the question of whether Lawson Graham should be in another genre because of the lack of full blown raps on every track. My own personal view is that this is hip hop, an evolving hip hop. The next song ‘Aint Nothin’ Gonna Change’ is another cool track, with a killer hook and with plentiful of harmonising. Here we are treated to two verses of raps and no complaints from me’ as the best comes later. Factor is a beat maker, a producer and the thing about producers releasing records is that there are lots of different voices and that certainly is the case here. Guest vocalists include the earlier mentioned Gregory Pepper, Sole, Radical Face, Myka 9, Moka Only, Cars & Trains, Ceschi, Pigeon John, Josh Martinez, 2Mex… I think you get the picture.
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2Mex really delivers on one of my favourite tracks, ‘Mental Illness’ a soothing hypnotic beats laced with just the right amount of strings. I admit I have listened to that song over and over again. If it’s a little bit of cheeky humour you are after then check out ‘More Than Love’ with Kirby Dominant addressing his relationship issues or ‘PopStravaganza’ featuring Josh Martinez. Most albums load up the top half with the best stuff but here there’s an even distribution and dare anyone skip the bangers featuring Myka 9, Moka Only and Def3.
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Fans of groups like The Roots, Beastie Boys and Crazy Town (remember them?) will no doubt like Factor’s latest offering. So if indie pop and folk driven hip hop sounds enticing or you would like to listen to something new and different why not give Factor’s Lawson Graham a listen? I’d venture to say a lot of you will be certainly surprised. The album is out now.