Voices carry: Brantley Gilbert and Migos

Brantley Gilbert – The Devil Don’t Sleep

His voice as blustery as a Sunday afternoon storm, Brantley Gilbert re-listened to the guitars on his three other studio albums and said they won’t do; now they’re as loud as the voice, but don’t think he’s going for Richard Thompson or even Brad Paisley (or Vince Gill). What sounded subtly vicious in 2014 – “Bottoms Up” still impresses me – is punishing and monotonous three years later. Only opener “Rockin’ Chair” folds its six-string brawn into a decent hook, anchored to the thinnest of scenarios (Brantley spies old timers rotting in chairs, wondering when he’ll be old enough to vote for a Donald Trump without apologizing). Elsewhere, the singer-songwriter cocks an ear towards Thomas Rhett’s drum machines for “Bro Code,” which he at least sings as if it’s a threat and as if he wishes the code excused plagiarizing Eric Church’s “Homeboy.”

Migos – Culture

As satisfying as it is to watch “Bad and Boujee” replace “Black Beatles” at #1, consider them the second and third entries in a trilogy celebrating arrivalism, with The Chainsmokers’ Andrew Taggart sporting hair no less marvelous and writing lyrics as stupidly lascivious. After an okay debut and about a dozen mix tapes, several excellent, the Lawrenceville trio refines its triplet-heavy attack. Consuming the album in one gulp can be hazardous: imagine gorging on Doritos before sitting down to eat a key lime pie. But as laryngeal revelers Migos have no equal at the momen; there are as many tongue clicks on Culture than on Indestructible Beat of Soweto. On “T-shirt,” Takeoff punches monosyllables like he’s thumbing texts. Over a foundation of click track, piano line and organ, Migos interject barks, woos, hey, vocodered uhhs – anything approximating spontaneity and improvisation and for all I know keeps them awake. Just know that with the purchase or streaming of Culture listeners also get moronic race baiting and babble about Percocet parties without the escape hatch of rue included on Future albums.

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