Thee More Shallows
Book Of Bad Breaks
Anticon
*** (3.5 stars outta 5)

I expected Thee More Shallows to be a hip-hop or ambient instrumental act, largely because they’re on Anticon Records. But this is not hip-hop. This is straight-up twee, bedroom-style indie pop, low-fi, and a bit creepy (think Grandaddy or Sparklehorse). It’s always weird when indie and punk labels try get their feet wet in the hip-hop world; it just feels like, “Oomph, wrong turn. The similar can be said when hip-hop heads attempt “rocking. Y’all remember when P. Diddy “rocked with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page? Damn, so embarrassing!

TMS, however, is not embarrassing. Rather, this thing is mesmerizing; it’ll pique your inner WTF curiosity. Had this arrived on any other label, even a more appropriate pop label, it would’ve been overlooked. It’s good, but it can’t compete with the likes of Belle & Sebastian, The Shins, or any number of other indie pop acts. Releasing it this way guarantees it’ll receive exposure within a whole scene of Anticon aficionados who might not otherwise take interest in music of this sort. Smooth move.—Arlie Carstens