Injury Reserve - By the Time I Get to Phoenix
Sep 14, 2021 (updated Sep 15, 2021)
94
Possibly the most ambitious record I've heard all year. It's crazy to think that the singles might be the most accessible and conventional songs on the album.

Injury Reserve are no longer 'just' a hip-hop group. What genre do they inhibit now? I have no fucking clue.

"By The Time I Get To Phoenix" is a dense amalgamation of a multitude of sounds and genre influences. As a result, I can't say this album sounds like anything I've heard before. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, this is undeniably unique and contains some of the most memorable arrangements and song structures of the year (Knees, Top Picks For You, SS San Francisco). On the other hand, Injury Reserve really aren't compromising here. I can already see tons of fans of their more catchy somewhat nostalgic material like on "Floss" or the self-titled record being jarringly confused by the direction this album is heading in. Honestly, I think it doesn't matter how comfortable you think you are with experimental music, this album still is a lot to digest.

With that being said, I think my ratings going to be pretty fluid. I feel obligated to give this a high rating off of my first listens just based on how fresh and innovative the sound that Injury Reserve presents is to me. However, replay value is also important and I'm not able to make a firm prediction about how this'll sound in a week or two.

Nevertheless, I would STRONGLY recommend everyone listen to this record. It's rare that we get something so incredibly unprecedented in music, something so distinctive. Does that mean that everyone will love this album? No. Most certainly not. Understandably, I think there are a couple aspects here which will need to grow on me but as of right now I'm just astonished by the incredible effort it takes to make an album as impactful as this one.

Injury Reserve are officially pioneers if they weren't already.

R.I.P Groggs.

FAV TRACKS: "Outside", "Superman That", "Top Picks For You", "Pospostpartum", "Knees", "Bye Storm"
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