Maybe my bullshit detector has plutonium batteries, but I'm not so sure I trust Darwin Deez. I've read a lot about how he's the new hotness, a genius of musical invention, number ten on the NME's Top 50 Cool List, all the rage in more enlightened societies, etc. -- but I can't tell what, if anything, he does that's rageworthy.
There's his self-titled debut, which comes out in the states next month, a tensome of agreeably brittle pop numbers, jangly like the Strokes and earnest like, I dunno, the Promise Ring. The lead single from it, "Constellations," has some staying power and an intentionally ham-fisted video, plus it's kind of an indie-rock answer to the "Miracles" fiasco. Still, I don't hear what's as new or challenging as the hype keeps insisting. And frankly? That headband-mustache-eerie composure combo bugs me.
Anyway, consider me caught off guard by Dr. Deez's latest exploit, a mixtape called Wonky Beats featuring the likes of Das Racist and Chiddy Bang. The claim that it's "composed entirely from Willy Wonka samples" is a little misleading, unless there's more spoken-word content about testicles in that movie than I remember, but the whole thing does have a pleasing flavor of expertly tweaked old film scores, not unlike some of MF Doom's Special Herbs beats.
And if that complicates my reading of dude, imagine what his rhymes do. Whereas you can breeze through his proper album with minimal effort, the maximalist nerd-hop raps on Wonky Beats demand some serious mental involvement. Deez takes a page or two from the Das Racist book of incredibly dense rhymes, spitting byzantine flows so overdetermined in their cleverness they're either pathetically geeky, kind of ingenious, or (and this is the hard part to process) both.
For starters, check him out dropping dizzying puns over the "A Milli"-style beat from "I Don't Like The Look" by the utterly talentless Lil Wayne protégé Gudda Gudda: "I ordered more house wine at Amy Winehouse's house after Amy whined about how I housed the first round." Then repeat for a few dozen more famous people.
So what do we think? Is he a free spirit with some harmless in-your-face ringlet action, or is he the pawn of some multimedia conglomerate of sinister international interests? Download the mixtape -- it's yours for free if you just post a Darwin Deez video on Facebook and send proof to the right address, which let's face it is a little sinister to begin with -- and judge for yourself.