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Malcolm Palmer – Between the Womb and the Tomb

Between the Womb and the Tomb starts off in a Spoon-meets-Beck sort of seemingly senseless, quirky funk-hop, but (none too) soon turns into frankly topical under-rap in which Malcolm Palmer comes across loosely reminiscent of Michel Franti (Disposable Heroes) backed up by a melodically thoughtful and talented band.

Palmer’s contemplations roll off his tongue effortlessly and constant. He rambles from personal confessions and confusion to self-criticism to socio-political contemplations like a stoned triple Aries at the peak of a four-way windowpane LSD trip. Skeptical? You should be.


The album notably slows in the center, but even as his dramatic intonations become more contemplative, Palmer tends to sound like he’s reading from a written page. While the singer-songwriter’s simplicity is intact much of the time, and the sum composition has moments of perfection, rivaling Wyclef Jean’s acoustic ballads, there is too commonly an overwhelming voraciousness and desperation to Palmers lyrics that detract from the softness of his accompanying musicians. Harder-hitting musical backing might seem more appropriate, but it doubtfully could break the monotony that is Palmer’s vocal styling.

Fans of introspective prose, poetry and spoken word might find this a worthy purchase, but for the general funk/hip-hop aficionado, this is probably a one-time, been-there, done-that listen.


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