It’s with great interest that I receive the news of a new Suff Daddy project. I’ve been following him for some time now and have thoroughly enjoyed his progress as a producer. He’s a busy guy. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was listening to the Betty Ford Boys album (another of Suff Daddy’s collaboration projects). When I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing Carpet Patrol I jumped at the chance.
According to the write up on the Melting Pot Music site “Their self-titled album doesn’t sound like anything you have heard from these guys before”. I’ve listened to this a good few times now and in balance I’d have to say that that’s probably fair. Having said that the basslines and beats seem to be undeniably the work of Suff Daddy. There is something distinctive about the note progressions that tickle his fancy and his signature seems to be writ large across this album.
It’s not a cheery album though. It’s dark and brooding but in an almost playful way. Some of the earlier tracks (particularly ‘Game of Tork’) on the album put me in mind of Dr Dre productions from around about the ‘Keep Their Heads Ringing’ period. Sharing the rarified air of Dre in his pomp is a pretty good place to be but I’m under the impression that these guys are trying to break new ground and I have to be honest that’s not what this is. It’s solid production but it seems to lack the zesty verve of some of Suff Daddy’s earlier work. That might be a slightly negative way of perceiving it though. If you shift your position slightly to the left you could see this as an homage to the work that influenced these guys. Viewed like that it seems like a far more rewarding enterprise.
If the beats and the bass seem to be looking back at a bygone era then what of the samples that lie on top of them? You certainly couldn’t say the same about Torky Tork’s contribution. The samples that he selects are drawn from a wide range of sources. There are vocal stabs, bollywood vocals and IDM synths. It’s all intricately woven together to form a bewildering sonic tapestry.
Whilst I was listening I also got the impression that this was some sort of concept album. There’s a six minute video EPK on the MPM website. I suspect that there’s an explanation of what the two chaps were trying to achieve. Unfortunately for me it was (laudably so) all in German. I don’t speak German though so I’m none the wiser as to their intentions or any supposed concepts. With that in mind, I can’t really say how successful a project it has been on that front. However, a truly great concept album should be able to stand up without the added layer of the concept. It should be good enough work in it’s own right. While this is sturdy and competent stuff it doesn’t really ever take flight.
Perhaps it’s a grower. That could be because it’s, according to MPM “made for the mature and strong-minded listener” and those are two adjectives that are rarely associated with me. There are enough interesting moments here to make me keep trying though. It’s such a dense work that I feel like I have to adjust to it because it won’t adjust to me. This doesn’t happen overnight though and takes many listenings before it will click. Fortunately this is not an album without merit. I can tell that there’s something going on here but I just can’t understand it yet. Come back and speak to me in six months and you could well find me banging the drum for Carpet Patrol and their solidly complex debut album.