Music News

Rondo Brothers

Two words: Hawaiian hip-hop. Not hip-hop made by inner-city Hawaiians but stuff as authentically islander as that flowered polyester shirt you bought at Marshals last summer. Dreamt up by Bay Area producer Jim Greer and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Arnovick, a duo known for its work with Dan the Automator and Galactic, the concept certainly wasn't inevitable and probably could've been left alone. There's some sense of aloha here, as twangy ukulele and slack-key guitar sway lazily over slowly churning breaks. But despite its flawless, Avalanches-style sample layering, the album is mostly sugarcoated novelty, capable of sustaining interest for the duration of your frozen mai tai but not much longer. Its few sparkling moments (the languid "Aquarium Dreams" and funky "King Kamehameha") are overshadowed by tepid songwriting and lyrical clunkers like "My mind is like a ukulele pupu platter." If it weren't for its consistent misfires, this could've been one hell of a sunset soiree.
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Jonathan Zwickel