Ignition Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's rare when someone can take a genre of music and give it an entirely new twist that makes it much more exciting than it had ever been.

Take alternative and hip-hop, for example. I've often bemoaned the present state of alternative music, and while I like hip-hop, I've felt for some time that the genre has been starting to stagnate.

Enter Pfilbryte and his debut album Imperfection. The title is a misnomer if I ever heard one; this album not only creates an amazing amalgam of hip-hop's trippiness and alternative's rock veins, but it restores my faith in both genres.

Pfilbryte can only be described as a cross between a hip-hop trickster (a la Digital Underground) and a mad scientist, using all forms of audio and video media to his advantage. (This isn't surprising, when you find out he is the grandson of "Woody Woodpecker" creator Walter Lantz - I still miss that cartoon.) His delivery of his vocals - spoken and sung - is incredibly smooth and laid back, at times both ridiculing and criticizing the society we live in today.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The lead-off single "Merry Go Round" is immediately addictive. Pfilbryte walks the line between hip-hop and alternative rock quite well, easily belnding into both genres before you realize there's been a switch. One subject of his Spike Lee-type wit is aimed at some of our "overpaid" sports heroes ("Say, man, doesn't that $123 million affect your vertical?"), but does so without attacking anyone in general - a refreshing change of pace.

His more pointed social criticism is saved for "Playtime," where he slams our interest in other people's sex lives, from the clergy to the president. I'm sure some will read his comments as near blasphemy, but in one sense, it is different to hear someone say he doesn't care about another person's sex life.

A few tracks fall a little short of the mark, like "This And That" and "Denied," but the power and energy of songa like "Poor But Honest," "Picture Yourself," "A Little Bit" and "Right Of Way" quickly make up for any shortcomings. As debuts go, this one is simply incredible. Pfilbryte's production work on Imperfection shows yet another talent he has; the sound on this disc is always crisp.

Imperfection's greatest difficulty, in the end, may be faced in the management offices of the radio stations, as the album is occasionally difficult to classify. However, it also defies classification; here's hoping both alternative and "dance-oriented" stations give Imperfection a fair shake.

Pfilbryte may be one of the most innovative new artists I've heard in a while, and Imperfection is a wonderful discovery to make. Clear your mind, slap on the headphones, crank up the volume, and let this disc carry you where it will... oh, and watch out for woodpeckers. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Rating: A-

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ignition Records, and is used for informational purposes only.