Music has evolved in such a way that we can make it with a single push of a button on our computers. Anyone can do it, but some fail miserably. Others, however, develop their own styles, their own beats that can very well transcend multiple genres as a whole. These beats may later be paired with lyrics that not only compliment the instrumental audio but in fact illustrate stories that can only glorify the intensity of the beats. Montreal-based rap duo Drum & Tongue’s 2015 album Intersections does just that.
The duo consists of Jonah Orion (rapper) and Ryan Bourke (music), both students who have a shared love for music and reside in Montreal. We can understand that the tracks of the album can be about heartbreak, fear of loneliness, friendship and the never-ending pressure of school and growing up.
The album reeks of teenage angst and self-discovery. Mellow, psychedelic, bold, and progressive, are just a few of the words one can use to describe the record. Incredibly enough, the beats themselves are repetitive but just enough to keep a listener intrigued by its uniqueness. With background city noises, synths, keyboards, choir-like vocals and basses, the beats of all individual tracks are incredibly unconventional, imperfect yet simultaneously the only sane instrumental choices to play over the lyrics.
The use of words is not only raw and honest but intimidating. Spewing from the mouth of a young adult, makes it all the more truthful, and identifying with the songs in question should not be something unheard of. It is accessible as well as unique. Though the lyrics themselves are powerful, the monotone voice in most of the tracks can let down a listener. Range is shown but for very few but important moments. Granted, as a very experimental album, it can speak to anyone. All one needs to do is just listen.
Though there are minor imperfections, like slightly failed and delayed tempo timings, the record as a whole compensates for it, simply due to its yearning to be something different. Its own experimentation with itself certainly makes Drum & Tongue a duo to be reckoned with. It is not your average rap nor is it average synth pop or rock. It is its own thing and it was done thanks to new ways of making music. In cases like these, it should not only be expected, but celebrated and looked up to.
The youth discover. They learn. They indulge themselves in the weird, the twisted, the feared, and the unknown, searching for purpose through artworks such as albums like these. The passion and genuine emotions, pouring out of each and every song, truly makes the album so much more important, not only to the relatively underground Montreal rap scene, but vital to the progression of the entire music scene in general.
Written By: Lazaros Kalipolidis
Originally Published: March 2016