"Highlighter" by People Under The Stairs

People Under The Stairs
Highlighter

Piecelock 70
2011

Review

The Barney Ruble of trouble on acid - Double K on "The Second Track"

PUTS have toiled in the underground for many years. In spite of that, they have a die-hard cadre of fans who buy the merch and loyally attend the shows. The last show I went to see them at though, they seemed a bit aloof and extremely drunk. They delivered a serviceable set in spite of themselves and I thought to myself, "I probably won't be seeing them live again".

Fast forward about a year later and PUTS have gone the way of folks like Radiohead and Louie C.K. and decided to flip the bird to the major media distributors (be they record labels or TV studios) and make their latest album available via digital means. That's not all that has changed, however. For the most part this record marks a departure from PUTS sample-heavy style to rely on more self-produced works. This might also be a consequence of them moving away from the labels as sample clearances can be costly and require the services of one or more lawyers. This is purely conjecture. However, I can say that this departure works out quite well for fans of PUTS who - while loving their sound - were perhaps chomping at the bit to hear something different.

On this record, PUTS not only strike out on their own in terms of their label-representation, but also in terms of the production style. Again, I don't know if this is a function of their own artistic direction or more of a financially driven decision, but it works. For reference you can just listen to the new PUTS classic "Talkin' Back To The Streets".

Long time PUTS fans will find enough of what they love in the group to be happy with this release and new fans should find themselves seeking more from the group. To me this release represents a nice bridge between the classic sample-driven style of PUTS and the future of the group. Either way, it's a step in the right direction.

3.842 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Selfish Destruction (03:53) 4
2. The Second Track (03:18) 5
3. Can't Hold It Back (03:42) 4
4. Talkin' Back To The Streets (04:29) 5
5. At The House (03:24) 3
6. Too Much Birthday (03:18) 3
7. We Got It (02:04) 4
8. The Time Bandit (02:54) 3
9. Foolish People (03:59) 3
10. Ascension To Nowhere (03:36) 3
11. Uprock Boogie (03:53) 5
12. Electric Tookie (03:56) 5
13. This Lifetime (04:04) 4
14. Cookie's Theme (03:56) 3
15. Dewrit! (04:56) 4
16. Mean Spirited (02:58) 4
17. Sonic Elders (01:44)
18. WRLA (03:10) 4
19. Left Foot, Right Foot (02:45) 3
20. Ambien Hallway Music (06:06) 4