Audio Imagery is a live band in the sense that they make their money off of live performances and are backed by a live band when they perform instead of the usual D.J. Because of this the group writes their songs with live performance in mind which I've finally decided is what gives Audio Imagery an edge here. It was the live aspect of Audio Imagery that had me on the fence for so long. I'm hesitant to say that Audio Imagery is instantly doper because they are a live band, but the live aspect of the group makes their music a lot more enjoyable than it would had it consisted of your typical hip-hop beats. The reason for this is that the crew virtually eliminates any down time in their songs making sure something is happening almost every second of the track. Music made for clubs doesn't need that constant focus on maintaining the crowd's attention, but it is crucial for a band whose bread and butter consists of live performances.
In all honesty, emcees Agress, Cos, and LP rarely drop attention grabbing lyrics and are average at best, but their voices/styles seem very well fitted/adapted for the style of music they play. They tend to use their voices as instruments more often than most emcees and can even sing if there is need for it. Their change in vocal inflections and singing keeps things interesting despite what can sometimes be average party lyrics. Songs like "Clap Song" and "Neva Enuff" are carried by the pure energy the music and emcees bring. "Cainco Blvd." is also carried by the energy on the track but is also interesting because it might be the most upbeat song I've ever heard dedicated to snorting cocaine. The odd thing is that even when the crew flips their subject matter, as they do on most of the album, the energy on the track almost fools you into thinking it's another party anthem. "That Love" and "Touch It/Next To You" are both songs dedicated to the ladies and a have a smooth feel to them though they have as much energy as every other track on the CD. When the crew slows things down a bit they have good results too, as can be seen on "Rain":
"It's only been less than year that
We've been together and it feels like we're falling back
On the same train heading on the wrong track
Left me in the rain, didn't know whether I
Wanted to stay and brave it through the storm, why
Should I stay, should I go
Heart telling me one thing, I gotta let it go
I can't do it, can't lose you like my right arm
And I ain't singing the same song
Cause I'm done saying I'm done, done with the drama
Problems? Yeah we got plenty of that
Perfect? Nah, not in the least bit
And who is? I'm still walking the surface
And I can say I'm sorry a million times, but I
Don't wanna say goodbye, don't wanna see you cry"
The smooth hook rounds out the track and the crew puts together a good song dedicated to relationship woes. Other tracks not dedicated to partying include "Throwing Rocks" which has a dope rock inspired hook and "What's Mine (Fire)" an anthem dedicated at grinding out and getting what's yours.
Overall, "Hush" is a good CD to put on when you want some energetic and busy music to keep you entertained. Emcees Agress, Cos, and LP won't blow your mind with their lyrics, and most of the time the emcees are more like additional instruments than the main event, but the mix of keyboards, guitars, rappers, singers, and other instruments is definitely something fresh. I assume live it's even easier to get caught up in the lush mix of sounds Audio Imagery drop, but even on CD the group is engaging enough for those that like music and aren't too discriminating when it comes to the lyrics.
Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10
Originally posted: September 11, 2007