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Eight Feet Tall | The Mask

album review by John Powell

Eight Feet Tall | The Mask

Eight Feet Tall started as a whirlwind a little more than a year ago, tightly tying in funk and hip-hop, peppered by rock and reggae, so it’s not a wonder that it took them to their second album, The Mask, to really find traction. For these seven songs, the septet from the Boston area feels loose and fun, while being extremely focused. Where their first album was an experiment to see what Eight Feet Tall was made of, The Mask is building a foundation for a longer run.

“Fight Your War” is a funky, old school hip-hop opener. Pete Doom has a distinctive rapping style, and he refuses to rap about useless shit. Every verse is well-planned, mastering inner-rhyme and flow. “I’m going bonkers and bananas,” he rapid-fire raps. “If the fingerprints are missing/ we’ll go looking for gloves,” he adds. Does Eight Feet Tall have a political agenda? No, but they certainly have an opinion.

They get a little heavier on “Don’t Call This Song a Revolution”, which features Force from The Alchemystics. Instead of being too focused, the band takes a track to let Force and Pete show off. I’ve always thought Pete did better when he lets loose and gets a bit angry. “I’m sick of all the dubsteppers,” he insists. “Hold on/ America.” It’s a highlight.

The best track is “Fly Summer”, with a super catchy chorus featuring trombonist Vinay Bhatt singing the chorus in supreme falsetto. “With these squinty eyes/ I rise/ I rise,” he belts. “Going to spread your wings and fly.” The reggae groove is heavenly as Pete chimes in, “We survived that deep freeze/ solar heat is on/ our mind.” The song, an ode to summer, is worth checking out alone.

In fact, “Fly Summer” shows the growth of Eight Feet Tall, who experiments with their sound without allowing things to get out of hand. The band, very organic in their compositions, floats loftily behind Pete’s raps. It’s all in good fun, but it’s serious, too.

Overall, Eight Feet Tall walks among a tight knit New England music community, and they bring something unique to the table. Their intentions are clear, their message strong. Pete raps quickly enough to ask you back for more listens to learn his lingo. The band is impressive. I highly recommend The Mask.

Bottom line: Funky, reggae-ish dance band with one of the northeast’s best rappers.


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