|Passalacqua, performing at Lo & Behold for River Street Anthology|
filmed by Mostly Midwest
It's been two years since we last got to hear a fine four song EP from Detroit duo Passalacqua, and it certainly feels like a lot has changed, politically, socially, culturally... Times are heavier, much more so than they were, back in the spring of 2015, when we heard Banglatown. Songs from that EP, like "At The Party," were about clearing ones head through a strategic detachment from debauchery that could then afford cogent contemplation. But songs on Peace Zone are not so much about a lateral shift, a shift that maybe takes you away from distracting noise, but instead yearns for elevation.
Blaksmith and Mister have always been 360-degree surveyors of the society-as-ecosystem inside which they operated, using their duets of articulated, staccato hooked raps to consistently render clarity out of the anachronistic music-biz-game, the unpredictability of fame, the fickleness of acclaim... and tiding against any wave or trend of conjuring bellicosity in their rhymes and instead opting to galvanize a deeper wisdom by documenting their individual-and-shared paths through strings of words laying bare their concerns and anxieties. Not so much vulnerable. But very much empowering.
Even something as funky as "Joni" references finding "Inner Peace." It closes things out (with production by Zach Shipps), and is easily the most psychedelic we've ever heard Passalacqua. Heads are in the clouds, the stratosphere, the cosmic perspective gazing down and taking the long view... We all find our own way / There's always more to say... I mean..., it might be a song about pancakes that references parental consummation. But it's also about, yes... tranquility! A tranquility that nourishes your creativity....the same way pancakes might nourish your drowsy weekend mind.
While "Labour," (with a ferocious cameo by Nolan The Ninja), is a classic Passalacqua-putting-it-all-into-perspective joint that finds producer Native $ound effectively cutting out the beats for these cathartic and startling opportunities for deep gasps. "Labour" is a new millennium's manifesto on perseverance.
Then there's "Self-Satisfaction," with superb rhymes by Self Says and producer Blockhead, where the three of them hit their most kinetic cadences in delivery, diving into the strength of a day-by-day progression, a stride, a sensibility for accepting whatever comes and being ready for whatever's up tomorrow. But "Peace Zone," compared to "Self-Satisfaction," slows it down, with production by djkage bringing those pensive trumpets in, finds its meditative escapes and achieves the simple-yet-calming revelation that so much of the stress or pressure is a choice, in terms of whether you let it get to you... You can elevate!