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Album Review

The title makes it plain: coming quickly after 2003's muddled, unfocused Self Titled, Rebirth is AWOL One's hitting of the reset button. It's a much stronger collection of songs overall, and the album's high points are among the best things AWOL One has ever done. The creepy "Flying Spiders" has a woozy, almost psychedelic feel akin to early De La Soul filtered through a bongload of cheap weed, and "Sum Times" puts a hypnotic sung hook and laid-back rhythm against some of the most impassioned verses on the album. The album isn't a total winner, since there's an unfortunate lack of variety in the album's pacing and flow, putting too many sleepy-tempo tracks in a row near the center. However, things improve toward the end, thanks to "Agony Ximer," which features sharp lyrics and a maddening, piercing keyboard hook, and the extended jazzy groove of "Upside Down 6." Slanguage is still AWOL One's career high point, but Rebirth is an impressive bounce back.

Afterbirth, Awol One
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