By Devin Morse
This six-piece hip-hop fusion group from Denver is as much about instrumentals as it is about vocal talent. In this three-song EP, Broken Tongues approaches hip-hop from several distinct angles, each song giving equal weight to both musical and lyrical creativity in a rather seamless blend. As evidenced by their wide choice of musical styles, Broken Tongues is all about breaking genres.
This is seen in the track “Does Hip-Hop Remember the Jazz,” which displays this genre-bending proclivity by fusing bop chord structure, walking basslines and jazz guitar riffs with hip-hop beats, turntable scratches and dope rhymes.
“No Time For Yours” is a slower reggae take on the group’s sound. Ambient female vocals introduce the song, leading into a call-and-response chorus between the two male M.C.’s, who alternate rhymes during the verse sections.
The song “Sunrises” has a heavier sound reminiscent of bands like Cyprus Hill or Linkin Park, using a counterpoint between grungy guitar chords, soaring female vocals, and angry, driven rhymes. The chord structure could belong to a number of Nirvana or Bush songs, while the rhymes are more obviously influenced by the likes of Atmosphere or Sage Francis.
Overall, Broken Tongues is a refreshingly different take on full-band hip-hop. Too often this genre treats the musical elements as a mere canvas for lyrical input. Broken Tongues, however, allows all parts of the music to exist in equilibrium, letting the instruments have as much say as the words themselves.
By Devin Morse