ALBUM (EP): “Red Hand Akimbo” by Paris Texas
RELEASE YEAR: 2021
LABEL: Paris Texas LLC
BEST TRACKS: “girls like drugs” and “BULLSEYE”
FCC: Explicit language
Paris Texas, the musical duo consisting of producer Louis Pastel and rapper Felix, brings a fullness and humor to alternative rap that’s proven exciting and inventive. The two met in community college in South Central, Los Angeles and have worked together officially as Paris Texas for over three years now, but their music tells a different story. “Red Hand Akimbo” is so tightly-crafted that you’d think these two had been working together for most of their lives. While their sound has remained consistently vibrant and interesting, “Red Hand Akimbo” sees Pastel and Felix pulling together a work far more cohesive than their previous project, “BOY ANONYMOUS.” Their new EP flows together seamlessly, even making use of comedic interludes that make me laugh a bit every time. The EP has only five tracks, but I still had trouble choosing my top two.
The second song on “Red Hand Akimbo” is pure fun. “girls like drugs” brings together rap and rock, layered with what reads as grunge inspiration (despite Paris Texas’ denial of any influence from the Seattle sound), which all makes for a unique and high-energy experience. If girls like drugs, then this track is the best medicine on the market.
“I’ve been smokin’ cigarettes until my lungs bleed,” is the moody and heavy opener that sets the tone for the fourth track of the EP just for it to be turned around with an Assassin’s Creed reference in the next line. “BULLSEYE” is angry, loud, funny, and passionate. I can imagine a crowd jumping around at a Paris Texas show, screaming these lyrics, and sweating a little too much. The vocal distortion in the chorus is King Krule-esque with just enough pop in the background to keep the energy up. The last forty seconds drop the vocals completely and showcase that specific brand of lo-fi hip-hop study beats that somehow just works in this song.
Overall, the project is criminally short, coming in at just under thirteen minutes, but I swear it’s worth every second. I can’t wait to see what the duo puts out next, and perhaps they say it best themselves on “Epilogue,” the spoken final track of the EP: “And the only path these two will follow is up, and if it is up, then it shall remain stuck.”
Here’s to getting stuck on good music,