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Album reviews
New Mania
Release year:
07 July 2020 / by Demar Grant (author)

88Glam make perfect night drive music. Their video gamey, synth-bathed trap beats are natural companions for ripping 140 on the Gardiner. While their trademark spacey sound is still a major part of New Mania, and synths still engulf the project there has been been a shift.

Guitars have popped up in place of their usual Final Fantasy-esque synths on some songs. While the variety is appreciated it only further clarifies how much 88Glam excels at their original style. Their flows fit in the pockets but they’re never as saucy, silky or smooth with acoustics backing them instead of synths. 88Camino’s sometimes hurried, sometimes hushed, often hellacious hooks and Derek Wise’s versatile flows still slide but “One Call Away” never bangs as much as "Dance for Me" thanks to its mournful guitars.

The duo also spends time apart crafting solo tracks that don’t ever match the heights of even their worst collaborations. What makes 88Glam pleasurable as a duo is their ability to seamlessly bounce off one another and if either of them is stripped out it leads to tracks like “My Way”, where 88Camino auto-tunes the track to death. 88Camino is best enjoyed in spurts where his super sticky hooks are treats throughout the song. When left to his own devices his stickiness evolves into bland repetitiveness. And for Derek Wise, his verses on “Sticks and Stones” ring hollow without 88Camino to glue them together.

88Glam are a tag-team. They’re the Hardy Boyz of hip hop and the chemistry is at an all-time high on New Mania. Splitting hooks, splitting verses, and acting more akin to features for each other, 88Glam keeps finding new ways to rejig their dynamic. The change in production is an extension of that rejiggering but 88Glam doesn’t have the range. It’s tempting to change the formula when the original moves have lasted years but when everyone loves your Swanton bomb that doesn’t mean you should start choke slamming people.

Rating: 6/10

HEAT: Dance for Me, Blue Clues, Brand New, Fiend


The author

Demar Grant

I'm just trying to put you on. @DemarJGrant

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