CD Review: Yo Majesty

Futuristically Speaking... Never Be Afraid (Domino)

Something of an anomaly for the Domino label, Yo Majesty's Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid offers a fusion of hip-hop and techno that might have been labeled electroclash five years ago. With sampled guitars, simplistic beats that sometimes sound like they were made on an '80s vintage Casio keyboard, and screamed vocals, Yo Majesty attempts to infuse sexual politics and a punk ethos into their electro sound, following a similar tack to that blazed by Le Tigre in the late 1990s.

Unfortunately, in-your-face lyrics and a brash, sassy attitude isn't all that's needed to make something like this succeed. The album starts off sounding fresh, but, after a few minutes, Futuristically Speaking's prefab shock tactics, genderfuck polemics, and clumsy beats become grating or, even worse, boring. The album sorely lacks a groove, and the resulting scattershot mishmash of rhythm and rhyme comes off as ineptitude—and not in a charming way, either. The group, quite simply, is either a work in progress or a failed experiment, neither of which will compel repeated listening.