Ugly Duckling – Moving At Breakneck Speed
Ugly Duckling have always made a point of being the outsiders, wearing the fact that they don’t conform to any kind of trend like a badge of pride. This may be the secret to why their career has brought them to a new album in 2012 when most of the group’s peers have long since unplugged their microphones.
Moving At Breakneck Speed is a concept album about the rap trio being on the run from a group of Mexican gangsters, as with most UD records, the message is playful and relatively meaningless, with the focus instead being on having fun. They do this by having thick funk based production which places its influences in the dance category. The fact that the lyrical flow from MC’s Young Einstein and Dizzy Dustin, who constantly back and forth throughout the entire record, isn’t that great, doesn’t really matter. As a collective the group produce a classic hip-hop feel with enough good humour body moving beats to keep everyone happy.
Opening track Keep Movin’ uses horn samples and Latin flavours to get the party started with a pace that continues through second track, Momentum. The production really is something quite amazing, with small sections that may offer a random wobbly bass line or lo-fi drum break which says that there has been a fair bit of thought put into making these song structures something more than the average.
The record is a little lacking on its vocal hooks, especially in songs like Elevation, which offers nothing in the way of a chorus line. Improving in this department would bring Ugly Duckling to another level, a level that they might not want to be at, but from a listener’s perspective, the fairly monotone sound of the rapper’s voices really need to be broken up with something.
How It Used To Be is an interesting tale about how the group came up, breaking from the narrative briefly, with the rappers reminiscing about how their career was a lot easier back in their heyday. When you realise that Ugly Duckling certainly have had their day and their commendable attitude towards refusing to change is a little bit unrealistic, you will agree that this record, whilst good, will probably largely go unnoticed.