Atlantis: Hymns to Disco
Few hip-hop artists display less anger and more curiosity than K-OS, aka Kevin Brereton. This bird is turning over rocks on much of Atlantis and finding a meal every time. More than a pastiche, “The Rain” zings with real strings like it’s 1966. The song and performance bring to mind Jerry Butler and soul devotees can only hope he explores that avenue further. Sam Roberts helps out on “Valhalla,” over an entrancing 14/2 cadence that swings like a broken bedspring. K-OS’s gifts as a rhyme-dropper are always evident but it’s the guitar-laced cuts, revealing a rare combination of daring and taste, that mark the youthful Torontonian as maybe the most inventive act in Canada today. “Equalizer” features fretman Russ Klyne rebranding traces of “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Stairway to Heaven” while K-OS declares, “Rap’s not afraid of the dark.” The song develops an improbable flow that resolves within three minutes. He opens “Ballad of Noah” with Dylanesque harmonica warble and then lets in Buck 65 for a burst, giving the album a solid hip-hop open and close with the motherlode in between. If the insular Yank rap audience doesn’t eat this up, it really does need to get out more.
—Doug Taylor
categories: Coast pick,Canadian artist

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