Fog: Ether Teeth (Ninja Tune)

My pimped-out baller appearance and crankness cause me to be often stereotyped as all hip-hop all the time

When I heard that the new Fog album was available to review, I jumped to claim it; I really liked his first album. As my pimped-out baller appearance and crankness cause me to be often stereotyped as all hip-hop all the time, it was questioned whether I was qualified to review such heady stuff (even though, I protested, Fog is found in the hip-hop section). The higher-ups, I believe, feared that I was of the “Whoa, that’s so weird I don’t like it” school, as opposed to the favored “Whoa, that’s weird so I like it” school. In the end, I emerged with the CD due to my young hotshot rep.

Andrew Broder used to be DJ Andrew, an excellent and imaginative DJ. I saw him at the St. Louis/Midwest Regional DMC competition several years ago, where he lost to our own DJ K9 and his Roc Raida body tricks. Broder now records as Fog, mostly making acoustic and turntable-based freestyle folk-hop. His new album is reminiscent of Beck before he struck it big with “Loser” and lacking the touched-by-grief quality in the lyrics. Ether Teeth has a hazy, meandering beauty which, unfortunately, sometimes gets bogged down and turns rather murky. But there are points of subtle clarity that give flashes of brilliance such as appear in “The Girl From the Gum Commercial,” the album’s strongest track. I personally prefer Fog’s self-titled debut album, but Ether Teeth reveals the possibility of an interesting direction for Fog. Let’s hope he finds the way in his next offering.

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