Mar 17, 2009 - 1:41 AM
Bay Area hip-hop duo The Tones must have taken a cue from dormant Guns & Roses front man Axl Rose’s career handbook. After nearly a decade of making music together and performing with respected artists like Little Brother, Common and The Roots’ drummer ?uestLove, The Tones have finally released their debut Dreamtalk.
As the title implies Dreamtalk is about dreams. However, this theme should not be taken literally. You won’t find mention of nightmares, talking in one’s sleep, or horrific bouts of sleep apnea. What you will hear are two painfully optimistic emcees stressing the importance of accomplishing goals and handling life’s disappointments and setbacks with poise. The up-tempo “From the Ground Up” promotes a DIY mentality while “The Movement” projects a checked self-confidence.
Still it’s tough to be “conscious” all the time and The Tones aren’t afraid to tackle Love and Lust in tracks like “Turn Me On” and “Invited Me.” The most touching track is “Fly Angel,” which deals with the loss of loved ones and serves as a eulogy to the deceased.
While emcees Retro and Suhn are skilled lyricists, what’s most impressive about Dreamtalk is the production. Every track has a rich, saturating sound usually unheard of without a live band. From keys to horns to strings and samples, Retro’s production is seamless. His ability to rework ‘60s soul staples like flutes and organs makes this album accessible to grown folks.
Oozing with positivity, Dreamtalk is your self-empowering soundtrack.
Kimberly Turner is Oh Dang!'s resident music critic and pastry fiend. And No, she's not fat.