By Devin Morse
This six-piece hip-hop fusion group from Denver is as much about instrumentals as it is about vocal talent. In this three-song EP, Broken Tongues approaches hip-hop from several distinct angles, each song giving equal weight to both musical and lyrical creativity in a rather seamless blend. As evidenced by their wide choice of musical styles, Broken Tongues is all about breaking genres.
This is seen in the track “Does Hip-Hop Remember the Jazz,” which displays this genre-bending proclivity by fusing bop chord structure, walking basslines and jazz guitar riffs with hip-hop beats, turntable scratches and dope rhymes.
“No Time For Yours” is a slower reggae take on the group’s sound. Ambient female vocals introduce the song, leading into a call-and-response chorus between the two male M.C.’s, who alternate rhymes during the verse sections.
The song “Sunrises” has a heavier sound reminiscent of bands like Cyprus Hill or Linkin Park, using a counterpoint between grungy guitar chords, soaring female vocals, and angry, driven rhymes. The chord structure could belong to a number of Nirvana or Bush songs, while the rhymes are more obviously influenced by the likes of Atmosphere or Sage Francis.
Overall, Broken Tongues is a refreshingly different take on full-band hip-hop. Too often this genre treats the musical elements as a mere canvas for lyrical input. Broken Tongues, however, allows all parts of the music to exist in equilibrium, letting the instruments have as much say as the words themselves.