by Matt Sapita
At first listen, Windmills’ “Broken Record” is an example of how polish can make an underground artist a contender against AAA artists. Looking closely, however, “Broken Record” becomes a truly notable up-and-comer: a combination fresh breath of air and throwback in a genre choked with juggernauts the likes of Kanye West and Jay-Z.
Windmills is made up of Framework and Rex Ray, and together they’ve worked to create a cleanly cut and edited album, with a sound that reminds me of the golden age of hip-hop and R & B. “Regular Handshake,” “The Beach When it Rains,” and “Graffiti in the Night” have a level of honesty to their sounds that modern hip-hop too often confuses with confidence and ego. For the most part, Windmills seems to have found the right level of complexity to their beats, mixing in guitar and saxophone enough to be complimentary to Framework’s vocals, rather than distracting.
That being said: the primary issues with “Broken Record” are the lyrics throughout. Framework’s flow is respectable, as is much of the content, but sometimes it can be lacking. Many of the songs chorus’ are fairly weak, and towards the end of “Regular Handshake” and “Bring Out the Sun” I found the level of repetition off-putting. Worse, though, I found my eyes rolling at “Underground Gem’s” call to “spread love.” Lyrics such as these bring to mind artists such as Twenty-One Pilots and their awkwardly PG lyrics, and feel out of place compared to the rest of the tracks. The final, and most disappointing aspects of “Broken Record,” are Rex Ray’s back up vocals. His voice often comes off as droning and out-of-place, a style best left back in the age of Biggie.
Over all, Windmills second album is definitely worth a listen, bringing an honesty and originality that modern hip-hop could sorely use. “Broken Record” promises a strong future for Framework and Rex Ray: one that I hope is realized.
Notable Tracks – “Regular Handshake” “The Beach When it Rains”
Find out more about Windmills’ new album here!
And listen to Matt on WIUN Thursdays at 7:00 PM CST!