While ‘Second Front’ might drag here and there, the production is sharp, on point and brings Aussie hip hop to an exciting new level.

Production duo Suburban Dark are the first act on much-loved hip hop label Big Village to be officially signed outside of the original founding members and after appearances on various Big Village productions and an EP, Second Front is a blistering arrival on the scene.

A far darker foray than one might expect from the usually upbeat and sunny BV crew, Second Front eschews cheerful cheekiness in favour of a dark, grimy landscape that for all its ominous, menacing tones surprisingly has something for just about everyone. Production-wise, Suburban Dark – whether they know it or not – are leaps and bounds ahead of the game. Drum machines and jagged synths lead the way and each track perfectly complements its guest.

‘What Ya Know About’ featuring Rapaport is a glistening gem: Rapaport spits, sprays and wraps his deft tongue around each rhyme. Lines like, “What ya know about sex, drugs and on the dole” are the cherries on top of a beat bristling with tight snares and hi-hats.

Single ‘Skeletonne’ featuring Thundamentals’ Jeswon might take a while to kick in, eerily buzzing, wobbling and sawing its way into your system, but it practically comes to life in 3D with all the raw energy that inhabits every bar. Closing track ‘Metro’ possesses the same tangible vitality and marks this duo as producers who are only just on the tip of what they’re capable of.

At 18 tracks long, it’s inevitable there will be a misfire or two; ‘Nexus 6’ (also featuring Jeswon) just feels forced and slightly clichéd, while ‘Drug Store’ featuring Tenth Dan won’t have you reaching for replay too many times.

3.5/5 stars


Second Front is out now through Big Village Records.

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