Finger lickin good
A themed Hip Hop act based around a Mexican crispy fried pork snack (Chicharones), aka Pork scratchings to the British pub enthusiast, aka pig scabs with hairs to the more discerning diner doesn't sound like the most appetising of dishes. The press bumpf, name and LP artwork : cartoon buffalo in the style of Ren and Stimpy feasting on pork, Aporkalypse Now emblazoned on the back suggests a record full of hammy tales about cheap meat products and a joke that would wear thin after about half a listen. Thankfully the outward persona is something of a chimera as When Pigs Fly is a more than competent affair and at times a rip snorting ride around what passes for Canadian Hip Hop these days.
'Pork Rind Discotheque', a previous single, fuses a Soul string sweep with an R 'n' B feel, the beats are not exactly revolutionary but it does hold its own due to some sharp attention to detail and well fired off rapping that's not dissimilar to Eminem in its delivery. 'Surf Rock' retains the funk throughout, with scatter-gun raps, frazzled scratching and jerky beats. 'Little by Little' is politically aware and addresses the American dream pointedly - "Where's my welfare, where's my healthcare". 'Breaking Point' continues this theme, with a melancholic guitar line that weaves itself around the beats. 'Fiesta', featuring Latino rapper Zelly Rock, is a bass driven, Spanish guitar infused swing. 'Freeze Up' goes back to the 70s for inspiration with a throbbing funk b-line, string stabs, and lyrics shot through with attitude. 'Ring, Ring' takes a more laid back approach. 'Bully Bully' has a content that's self explanatory, but the approach to the issue is not : more South Park than Social Services it proves that humour is as deadly a weapon in highlighting bullying as any convoluted hand-ringing exercise - "He's never seen the ground before cos he only looks up, he barely talks because he's holding his breadth to suck up his gut, and he walks with his arms like he's holding invisible TV's but no matter how dumb he looks he still scares the shit outta Sleepy.". 'Guys Like Me' is a swipe at women fall for the macho bullshit routine, 'Cant Find The Time' about the excuses people make that prevents dreams from being fulfilled and 'Keep It Moving' is a prime slice of club Hip Hop.
Slick storytelling executed with dexterity on the mic and a deft touch when it comes to beat construction, The Chicharones have made a record that impressively melds a number of different styles, all held together with sharp humour and a socially conscious attitude. Canada isn't exactly known for it's Hip Hop, but this LP goes some way to correcting that view, and it also gives the pork scratching the much needed boost and make over it so richly doesnt deserve.