I do not think it serves to insult the duo of THEESatisfaction if I were to say that the music found on their Sub Pop debut, awE naturalE, is odd. While there are obvious connections with more traditional forms and styles, especially R&B and rap, it’s not so much what they do but how they do it that is unique. Their musical backing feels cut and paste; only three of the songs on their album break the three minute mark, with most songs running much shorter than those, and the shuttering from one to another is done in a manner that is often so abrupt it can be jolting.
Still, it’s hard not to fall into the duo of Stas & Cat’s music. Highlights include the upbeat “Sweat” (featuring a superb sample from Earth, Wind, and FIre), or the lovely loopy “Existinct,” wherein the duo sing gently over an addictive, trance-like looped piano. It’s no surprise that they arrived at Sub Pop courtesy label mate and collaborator Shabazz Palaces; they share a similar use of stripped-down, basic, no-frills accompaniment and Shabazz mastermind Ishmael Butler appears here and there to give vocal and instrumental help. His vocal appearances on the song “God” and “Enchantruss” add a dimension to the duo’s singing, and it’d be nice to hear them collaborate more. Outside of the work of Georgia Anne Muldrow or the late J. Dilla, it’s not often that one finds an artist so masterful at making something so sonically appealing while making something that’s so unique and enjoyable
(That awE naturalE is a debut for Sub Pop doth not mean that this is their first record, either; their Bandcamp page features quite a number of mini-albums, singles, and other noteworthy releases, many of which are much harder and political than what’s found here, and all worthy of your time.)