Cousins of the Wize

The Art of Living
(self-released)

If there's one way that Cousins of the Wize's second album, The Art of Living, suffers, it's in poor track sequencing. There's a lot to like here, from the radio-ready "Two Bottles of Beer" to the instrumental "Spaghetti Western," which could easily be subbed into the Kill Bill soundtrack without Quentin Tarantino batting an eye. Unfortunately, you'll have to dig through a few sub-par tracks before getting to them. "The Art of Living," the opener, is about as melodramatic as its name implies. It's followed by "Cruise Control," which breaks my first rule of hip-hop: Unless you're Snoop D-O-Double-G, no self-references. Sure, there are a few examples of sub-par rap trappings — like an attempt to rhyme "grays" with "glass" — but they're easy to look past. The band covers a wide array of styles — hinting at reggae, jazz, rock and even a little electronica — but Jeremy Decoster's saxophone carries you from track to track. It's the most identifiable element in the Cousins of the Wize sound, whether it's screeching high notes or running almost-growled strings of eighth notes. Hip-hop fans looking for a little something extra will appreciate the band's range of instruments — if they can get past those two opening tracks.

 
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5 comments
Bloo
Bloo

This guy is the worst person to review a album in years... first off.... he probably didnt even listen to the whole album....! These guys have been the best act in town for years... they provide a great live show... and the album may not be the same the whole way throught... but thats what makes them unique... you can't put them in a category... they don't care anyways.... hopefully Jonathon can go listen to his first Korn CD and write a review on the type of music he normally checks out... peace out...

SunDevilRick
SunDevilRick

I am biased as hell as these guys are my friends but I think Cruise Control is one of the best tracks on the disc. There is a lot of emotion in the track, especially when it talks about CPT. Maybe it is just that Jonathon does not know the group well enough, but CPT will always be a part of the band. The track has a ton of heart, and is a statement on COTW's life as a band.

As for the whole "my first rule of hip-hop: Unless you're Snoop D-O-Double-G, no self-references." WHAT? Jonathon are you on crack? That is a long standing tradition in Hip Hop. There has been GrandMaster Flash and the Furious Five in "Birthday Party", LLCoolJ in "Born To Love You", Ludacris in "Stand Up", Digable Planets in "In It's Good To Be Here" etc. This is a bogus rule Jonathon. Hip Hop is a genre created to Hype people. You can't have a rule that disallows it and still like Hip Hop.

This CD is great and everyone should pick it up!

FullBright Scholar
FullBright Scholar

Does Jonathan McNamara even listen to the albums he reveiws? This reads like a skim job.....but it still makes me want to buy this album....

Michael Eli
Michael Eli

your first rule of hip hop is no self reference? Is rule number two not referencing your home town? Have you ever listened to hip hop? That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

CattyWompuss
CattyWompuss

This record is one of the best Arizona albums in years...Cousins of the Wize "The Art of Living" will be known as the best record of 2008...hands down.....name checks or not.....

 
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