At the sundae bar we call music, irony takes the role of the extra-sugar sprinkles at the end of the table. A few spoonfuls aren’t bad and could even add some flavor, but too much ruins a perfectly good treat. This year has seen an epidemic of artists loading up on irony and absolutely shooting themselves in the face by going for the “LOL.” EAR PWR and YACHT torpedoed otherwise interesting music by singing about waterslides and cracking T-Pain jokes, respectively. Don’t think this is a Williamsburg problem exclusively – 3OH!H climbed the charts by imploring listeners to “do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips” while fellow all-caps-ers (seriously, why do they all have to be in all-caps???) LMFAO gained notoriety for dropping this this turd on the world.
Surely Japan, a country where this isn’t played for laughs, wouldn’t fall for the same trappings wearing a “World’s Best Grandpa” shirt. Enter rap-ish duo Love and Hates. They are part of the Flake Records 3rd Anniversary Party concert this Saturday in Osaka, and are certainly the most unique act on the bill. Watch this live video of Love and Hates performing live and play “spot the ironic gestures” with me.
OK, got them all? “Thug” posing, Burger King crowns as hats, chains as bling necklaces and the chopped-and-screwed voice babblin’ on about ice cream at the beginning. Couple all of this with the duo’s MySpace page (sound described as “toy-tasted crunk hiphop,” some sort of connection to Vice and their latest release being on cassette) and you wouldn’t be blamed if you destroyed all traces of Love and Hates from your computer.
And yet one shouldn’t dismiss Love and Hates based on initial impressions. Unlike a lot of artists up in the first paragraph, the forced goofiness doesn’t carry into their actual music…at least not the lyrics. “Party Trash” never overreaches for a joke, instead letting the duo shout while the beat stomps forward. “Hate,” featured on their MySpace page, gets a little bit more adventerous lyrically, but doesn’t grate – mostly because it’s LCD Soundsystem for beginner’s, and they pull it off. No raps about manatees or “crankin’ my Batman,” sounds good to me!
The determining factor in whether you’ll dig or ditch Love and Hates is whether you’re turned on by the idea of twee-laced crunk. If beats straight out of Toys ‘R’ Us featuring enough slide-whistle to make Sideshow Bob blush get you going, this is the duo for you. You either are going to think it’s neat or view it as the ironic smirk that can’t be reconciled with. I love nearly anything twee, so I’m coming around to this. I hope to make it out to the Flake show this Saturday, so hopefully I can get a better understanding of Love and Hates then.