Album review: M-Flo - Cosmicolor

Album review: M-Flo - CosmicolorM-Flo always deliver when it comes to their sound, which is as diverse here as it's always been. M-Flo's gambit has always been their knack to dip in and out of any style they choose and sell it, making for really interesting sounding records. M-Flo's music has always been really difficult to categorize because it crosses so many genre's. Every M-Flo record features elements of rap, hip-hop, R&B, Disco, techno, dance and even big band. This may sound like the weirdest musical cocktail ever, but M-Flo make it work as they always do and Comsicolor see's no changes to the setup. Business as usual. If I were to compare M-Flo to another act, I'd compare them to Daft Punk. Why? I'm not even sure. It's just the first musical act that comes to mind when I think of M-Flo's music.

The great thing about M-Flo is that between them they are always at the top of their game. Verbal's rapping never fails. Regardless of the style of the song he always manages to flow to the music perfectly. The way he interchanges between English and Japanese just adds to his coolness. He speaks fluent English and there are a couple of songs where he raps entirely in it. So if like me you know zero Japanese, then you can actually understand what he's rapping about and rap-a-long. Verbal's lyrics are work, parent, grandparent and kid friendly. So you won't have to worry about him dropping F-Bombs or rapping about how he's going to pick up a couple hoes, hit a bitch from the back, tap that booty and then skeet in her face. Taku holds up his end with solid production. Even on the not so good songs his production stays tight. He has a real knack for not making samples not sound like obvious samples that have been thrown in between drums and a bass line. His productions also have interchanging melodies and bridge sections, something not often found in rap songs. M-Flo definitely have some of the most melodic rap songs around.

As always M-Flo bring a host of guest stars along for the ride and give them centre stage. M-Flo are selfless and are not afraid to let their guest artists take over songs. Every track has a featuring artist, but instead of naming them all I'll just give mentions to 3 of the better known ones: Crystal Kay, Namie Amuro and Kumi Koda. Namie and Crystal fans will be glad to know that their tracks rock. They are different to anything you'd hear them do on their own respective albums, but their style isn't compromised. M-Flo and Crystal Kay fans alike will be over the moon with Crystal Kay's appearance on Cosmicolor as it marks their third time working together (4 if you include Verbal's featuring on one of Crystal's songs). Crystal and M-Flo always work magic together and "Love don't cry" doesn't disappoint. An up-tempo club banger with heavy percussion, strummy guitars and a thumping bass line. A great start to the album and a track you'll have on constant repeat. Namie features on the a 2-step, garage, dance hybrid track "Luvotomy" with its ever changing melody and warbling bass lines. This song is hotness and Namie and Verbal's sparring back and forth verbally on the pre-chorus and interchanging between English and Japanese is cool to listen to. It's a great track and a shame it wasn't released as a single. The same cannot be said about Kumi Koda's track. Absolute shit, but I'm not surprised. She's the most inconsistent, hit and miss J-Pop artist in the game right now and I bet M-Flo only hooked up with her because they thought she'd put out in the studio and ride it like a jockey until she was sore between the legs. She seems like that kinda girl.

Other highlights include the Craig David-esque "Love me after 12AM" featuring Alex of the Korean music unit Clazziquai project. A hot laid back song which feels timeless and also incredibly current. Verbal's verse is especially cool. The "Take me down to Akhibara city, where the laptop's cheap and the lights are pretty" line got a smile out of me. Techno fused club stomper "Lotta love" featuring Minmi is another good 'un. A great song, which also had a great music video. The song has so much energy about it that it's a struggle not to dance to it.

Cosmicolor lacks the energy of M-Flo's previous releases. I personally prefer Astromantic and Beat space nine, but there's no denying how bold and album Cosmicolor is. M-Flo fans will dig this album as the entire M-Flo package is back in full effect with funky high energy tracks with catchy hooks and kick ass music videos to boot. Open minded music lovers looking for something uptempo, carefree and energetic will also find something to like here. Whilst Cosmicolor isn't perfect album, it is thoroughly enjoyable. And whilst it isn't different from what M-Flo has done before, it is unlike anything else by other artists around right now.

M-Flo's 'Cosmicolor' scores itself a 6 out of 10
Album highlights:
■ Love don't cry J's fave
■ Luvotomy
■ Stuck in your love
■ Summer time love
■ Picture perfect love
■ Love me after 12AM
■ Lotta love

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