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Thundamentals are arguably Australia’s most positive hip-hop group, with tunes like ‘Smiles Don’t Lie’ and ‘Quit Your Job’ proving anthems for many listeners throughout Australia. Their fourth album, Everyone We Know is the first on their label, High Depth, and comes with high expectations, but does it live up to the lofty standards set by past releases?
The short answer, not exactly. But, here’s the long answer.
With the opening horns of ‘Everyone We Know’, the eponymous first track, comes a tinge of déjà vu. It feels like we’ve heard this song before, not just from the Thundamentals, but from other Australian hip-hop artists in general. In arguably the golden era of Australian hip-hop – with artists like Sampha the Great, Baro and Remi making truly international music – this song feels rooted in old school Australian hip hop.
‘Sally’ picks up the pace. A love song, (I am sure you can work out her name) the track features a great hook from Mataya and is a nice ode to being in love. It will be one of the most popular songs at Thundamentals gigs from here on out. ‘Never Say Never’ is also a solid tune, and strangely reminiscent of a Cat Empire song. Definitely another one to get the party going. On the other hand, ‘Reebok Pumps’, an ode to the shoe of the same name, falls a bit flat.
‘Déjà Vu’ brings the mood down and is more of an introspective track. The hook is the defining factor, much like many Thundamentals songs, and provides a nice contrast to the high energy start to the album. ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ has an important message on privilege, and is arguably the highlight of the album with its socially conscious lyrics.
‘Wyle Out Year’ picks up the vibe of the first few tracks and runs with it and is the most energetic song on the album. The beat is reminiscent of a club hit, and given the right marketing, could be the album standout. The record slows down somewhat, with ‘Blue Balloons’. It works, though, with the Thundamentals’ dexterity shining through here. Closer track ’21 Grams’ has the only high name feature on the album, with Hilltop Hoods making an appearance. Arguably, the Hoods are the Thundamentals’ predecessor, and it feels like a combination of the old and new coming together.
Everyone We Know is a good album. Solid beats, solid lyrics, solid features. Still, something feels missing. In an era of Australian hip-hop where more and more risks are being taken in order to progress the genre further, this album feels a bit too much like a throwback to a sound of years past. That being said, it makes a nice addition to the Thundamentals’ discography and is sure to make any fan happy.
Thundamentals – Never Say Never