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Brent Hoskins & the Heavy Soul Collective | Sketches of

album review by John Powell

TBrent Hoskins & the Heavy Soul Collective | Sketches of

Every so often an artist comes along that is influenced by so many kinds of music that he has a hard time finding his own sound. For some, this is a detriment, as they come off aimless. Others can seamlessly cross genres, developing a unique voice. Brent Hoskins straddles the line because his roots reggae songs, his hip-hop, and his DJ’ing are all good. He’s talented on many levels. Sketches of… doesn’t blend genres too often. Instead, a rap song is followed by a reggae song, etc. The album feels like a mixtape, with such a variety of music.

On “No More” he’s got a Sublime/Slightly Stoopid vibe, with a hook that comes around often, fluttery flute, and a sick, full-on, reggae vibe. “No more brokenheartedness,” he sings over the upbeat music. “Here comes sorrow/ things pile up/ create barriers,” he sings. “You got to move on.” It’s, in all humbleness, a stellar song.

Another reggae track is the highly 90s reggae “No more friends”. Fans of Sublime will love its Cali vibe, but roots fans won’t like message. “I don’t need a friend/ not a one,” Brent sings. “All I need is some isolation.” The bassline is wonderful and the dubbiness terrific.

“Tome la Rueda” opens the album with quite a different feel, however. The instrumental sounds like a Fugees’ beat, a soulful DJ piece. A bunch of other DJ songs are lumped in, including the Latin-tinged “Break For Tito”, that pulls from a bunch of samples and is sewn together gleefully. The biggest treat is the reggae DJ combo of “On The Sun”, which deserves two thumbs way up. It’s a pretty instrumental with dub flavors, and the groove is delightful.

Brent doesn’t fair so well on “Frontin’”, just because the lyrics are so cliché. Musically, he sounds like Citizen Cope- another musician with solid reggae and hip-hop influences in an otherwise alternative, gloom scenario. “What once made me happy/ has turned my smiles to frowns/ I’m talkin’ about my baby,” Brent tries to have come off without any cheese. Sorry, but you can’t have a song like “Frontin’” on the same album as “Solid Ground”. I think the album could have been edited down.

Those that enjoy a lot of variety, and don’t mind abrasive changes in sound, (maybe like those few punk songs snuck onto a Slightly Stoopid album), well, Brent Hoskins is perfect for you. I find Brent as an artist interesting. He is musically attuned. He’s just all over the map.

I suggest you check out Sketches of… for tracks like “Goin’ Places” and “Huauchinango”, and don’t let the other songs drag you down. Brent’s an artist to watch, certainly.

Bottom line: Maybe too many styles of music packaged together, but the elements in and of themselves are great. Worth checking out.

Comments  

 
0 # how to delete 2014-03-16 00:49
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