Brilliantly produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Modest Mouse, Bill Callahan) Astronautalis is back with his fifth full length Cut The Body Loose. Having his roots planted firmly in hip-hop the sounds and styles of Astronautalis are an animal not so easily caged.
At any point he touches upon shoegaze-laced indie rock, pulsating electronic, swampy Southern-influenced blues, and more. Beside his ongoing collaboration with Grammy Award-winning producer John Congleton he has worked with Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Tegan Quin (Tegan & Sara), members of The Riverboat Gamblers and P.O.S. (Rhymesayers) amongst others to help craft his undeniably unique style.
While Cut The Body Loose may seem like Astronautalis’ most aggressive album to date, to call it angry or pessimistic would be to miss the point. Named for an aspect of a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral when the music guides grievers from heavy, insurmountable suffering to a full-on raucous celebration in the streets, Cut The Body Loose is the sonic equivalent of that same liberating process.
The scene of the album is set early with the gritty, glitchy opener "Kurt Cobain" which is as much a call to arms as it is an mission statement. Cut The Body Loose exists in a space between heartache and acceptance, and that duality is evident in songs like "You Know What It Is," which starts as a downbeat critique of music and pop culture in general before exploding into a joyful, horn driven celebration of life.
Like life, there's plenty of inherent variety, which is why there's room for ominous, ethereal bangers like "Kudzu" or the piano driven, downbeat hiphop ballad "Boiled Peanuts,” an ode to his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. The standout single “SIKE!” is a feisty and assertive track featuring horns by Reggie Pace (Bon Iver, No BS! Brass Band) that The A.V. Club declares is "brimming with energy and befitting of its exclamation point." When Astronautalis commands the audience to "turn it up 'til it shakes the rafters" on the emotionally-charged anthem "Running Away From God," it's not a metaphor, it's time to tear the fucking room apart. On the surface, Cut The Body Loose centers around themes of loss, disappointment, and struggle but in the end, it is really about finding redemption, triumph and catharsis in the face of all of that sadness.
1. Kurt Cobain
2. 1515 Washington
3. Running Away From God
5. Guard The Flame
6. In The Tall Grass
7. Attila Ambrus
8. Forest Fire
9. Cut The Body Loose!
11. Boiled Peanuts