The third album from the underground artist Time is a dark and brooding album that makes no effort in seeking commercial appeal. That’s a statement most evident by the cover – a dead cockroach lying on its back atop a dinner plate… “Naked Dinner” indeed.

Maniacally the album ensues with an ominous synth-driven beat on “End of the Fork.” Guest Damon Jevon offers a melodic little bridge to Time’s rhymes on the track, which is pleasant but completely abandoned as it continues forward until the very end instead of carrying it out as a chorus. The listener will quickly realize if Time is for them upon hearing his choppy flow.

Not surprisingly, “Cockroach Goddess” further entrenches the narrative of the disc into the shadows. The music produced by DocType brings to the table chiming piano keys and a frightening feminine howl. Time tries to vary things up with different line lengths. Not having succinct bars is actually distracting and feels sloppy. Nonetheless it is a step in the right direction as there is a sense of concept and direction even, though I get the impression that Time is tirelessly trying to avoid that feeling.

The first song that really has any replayability for your average hip-hop head is “Portobello Cloud.” Taking that into account, Time should realize the importance of a well-conceived hook:

“What you going to do when things go down?
What you going to do when no one’s around?
What you going to do when things go down?
What you going to do when no one’s around?”

It’s simple yet it has a sing along appeal. The execution is a little rough around the edges.

Usually one can tell if they will like a relative unknown artist by the artists they associate with. To this extent, Time succeeds in drawing interest with additions by Sole, Extra Kool, C-Rayz Walz and the previously mentioned Damon Jevon (a pretty good vocalist). The sad truth is that these usually entertaining individuals are dragged down in attempting to fit in with the album’s mood and a slew of mediocre beats.

Time does his best Slug (of Atmosphere) impression on “And we all get along” as he indulges the audience in characters and himself – a character in his own right. Here he drops this portion of a verse:

“And there he is rolling a bugle in a bar
He’s never had a house and he’s never had a car
Home is the road a back stitch of a motel
He doesn’t care about heaven because he can smoke in hell
He takes another shot to numb the anxiety
There’s a Zanax in his stomach and his smile is lying to me
He’s getting old and so is his demo
So is his dreams getting rich with the limo…”

This is Time at his best, giving us introspective music rather than the unapologetically strange.

Meanwhile Time has some very poor moments aside those simply not being very accessible; these include the couple of times that he breaks out the auto-tune and the childishly simple cuts, like the nursery rhyme feel of “This is Hell.”

There are a few times that Time shines on “Naked Dinner,” however, those instances are far too sporadic. Instead, though he stays true to his vision, a potential consumer’s appetite will likely be unquenched by this effort.

Time :: Naked Dinner