Trap House Rave. Contagious.
Tri-Force Entertainment, 2013. Trap House Rave: http://www.traphouserave.com/home
Trap House Rave is a band that gets stuck in your head for a couple reasons. This group from the outlands of that ancient city that is Cleveland serves up a decidedly odd and often in-your-face experience with their album Contagious, the second full-length release from a hyper-charged and spliced alliance of singing, screaming, and rapping artists.
What hits you immediately from the very first track of Contagious is Trap House Rave's fearless attitude to cross breed their songs with elements of different genres, from the synthesized beats of hip-hop to the raw bellows of hardcore rock. Refreshingly, it all worked for me as a listener and is a testament to the rejection of genre-labeling this band stands by. Do this kind of blending wrong and the result is akin to eating anchovies on an ice cream sundae. But do it right and you get to hear something that is as different as it is enjoyable, hybridity considered. The varied nature of Contagious is definitely what sets it apart from the band's previous releases.
In terms of how the lead vocals sound Trap House Rave can definitely draw comparisons to the band Mindless Self Indulgence, a force to be reckoned with from a more electronic and instrument-driven sector of rock. The quirky, eccentric verbal jabs of Trap House Rave's Koly Kolgate sometimes reminded me of fictional rapper MC Pee Pants crossed with Fred Durst when hearing the singer do his thing, while the style of the other vocalist, Shane Spohn, seemed more in line with that of mainstream rappers. So they're not voices gentle and soothing, to say the least, since the milieu of Trap House Rave lay elsewhere (perhaps in a toilet full of Surge and vodka), but ones certainly practiced in their trades and the uncouth subject matter they revel in.
Now then, the warning must be made that anyone offended by the words "bitch" and "slut" when they are used to colloquially refer to women would do well to avoid this album as it will probably make you snap the disk in half. Moments of demented male machismo, brazen and grabbing its own balls, are on full display here through lyrics such as the following quote pulled from the song "Self Portrait Exchange" where, I kid you not, the following is stated:
"I ain’t bring a rubber. Fuck that though, I’ma make this bitch a mother. 16 and pregnant, I guess that’s the trend, and YOLO is the motto, Brewer fill me up again."
If any fans of the band are reading this I proffer some counsel to you: never quote the more salacious works of Trap House Rave if you want to have any kind of a relationship with someone that doesn't have a head wound. And if the aforementioned Mr. Brewer is perusing this review please slap the requester of the drink and direct them to a Planned Parenthood- for condoms. "Self Portrait Exchange" and "The Strange" are undoubtedly the most addictive songs of the entire album because of the beats and production in them, however devolved the imagery and some of the lyrics are.
Controversy and ribald humor are obviously being pursued to impishly ignite listeners, and if you realize that then Contagious becomes more tolerable since Trap House Rave is in the entertainment business, after all, and not in the arena of nuanced dissertations on American culture. Bands like the Misfits and D12 courted obscenity in much the same way when they were first getting started, along with countless other acts throughout history looking to shock their audiences. Some songs on Contagious avoid the sexual trashiness and I'd say that suggests there's more to the band's aspirations than singing about going to parties and unzipping their pants, such as in "The Kids Next Door" where the lyrics lament:
"In the land of the free it’s too often that we're not brave. It'll only be a few more years before we're all enslaved. By a society of technology, a prescription for our psychology, and it don't take a lot of me to show the world what they ought to see."
See? Not exactly pushing the bounds of originality but there are brains in the creative impulses of these fierce scarecrows after all, in my opinion. Still don't believe me? Then here's a sampling from "Cancer.jpg" that contains, quite possibly, the greatest boast ever:
"I always get my awesomesauce, I get my waffle fries for free because I’m a mother fuckin bawse [sic],"
You cannot have a bad day after reciting that to yourself. For the record that is how the band's website spells "boss" and I thought it best to represent the term the same way in the above quote since I don't want to get awesomesauce on my face. I've heard it burns.
Trap House Rave clearly enjoys itself and you know this after a single listen to its album Contagious. With a funny music video for "The Strange" up on Youtube and guest appearances from screamer John Sustar on one track and rapper ZuP on another Trap House Rave has mania to spare and evokes the essence of Cleveland through Contagious in ways I'm sure that Governor John Kasich secretly identifies with on multiple levels.
Rest assured you'll be infected by these twelve tracks if you're looking for something alternative, abrasive, and offbeat. Otherwise, look elsewhere because Contagious will give nightmares and shudders to those not able to see the humor and hard work that went into this album.
Personnel: Branden Monday (Drummer), Shane "Shane D." Spohn (Vocals), Ken "Koly Kolgate" Kuglin (Vocals), Jim "Jimothy" Krumhansl (Guitar), Ryan Brewer (Bass/Turntables).
Tracks: OUTBREAK!, The Kids Next Door, Cancer.JPG, The Strange, Self Portrait Exchange, Plan B feat. Sustar, Second Best feat. ZuP, Solo Shot First, Rage and Riot, The Deadliest Catch, 22:13, and Containment.