It’s been a long while since Dream Jefferson began hinting at their full-length album. Now, finally, the time has come, and 32X has finally dropped onto the world. During a live set a while back, front man Owel Five called the group’s music “Madness, wonder, love, hatred, space and your favourite TV shows,” and it’s an unwieldy but accurate description of what the group does.
Dream Jefferson’s brand of electro-hip-hop encompasses a wide spectrum of human emotions, from celebratory happiness to contemplative sadness. As such, it allows for the group to flex its muscles and deliver a diverse smorgasbord of material. From the infectious repetition in “CyberPunkRockRap” to the deeper sentiments of “Château de Versailles,” there’s something in it for everyone.
Vocalist Owel Five and producer Corboe’s biggest strength is rapid-fire delivery—songs sizzle just that much more with a steady barrage of words like “Goblin Shark Kids” and “Light Therapy.” As might be implied by the “TV” portion of the unwieldy description above, the band drops so many references it’s difficult to list here, but extra props go to them for the Game of Thrones references in both “CyberPunkRockRap” and “The Filth.”
The songs are also at their strongest when they incorporate their collaborators Ian Strasboug and Tovah Fine, making songs like “The Ballad of Valeska Suratt” that much more of a community effort. At some point on the album you will also hear Paul Saulnier of PS I Love You and even Kira May.
As if the rapidfire delivery wasn’t enough, the backing beats have really gotten stronger. The electronics seem to really draw from 8-bit music, from the plunking of “Oblivia” to “Fireworks Over the Roxy.” At times, to match up with the aggression in Owel Five’s delivery, the beats get a lot more intense, almost industrial, like in “Gainsbourg!”
If this review feels like it’s barely scratching the surface, it should. 32X is an album that demands several listens to fully unlock, pulsating with catchy electronics and a cavalcade of pop culture references.
Top Tracks: “Château de Versailles”; “The Filth”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)