Lilacs & Champagne, Danish & Blue
The soundtrack to the best stoner-rap neo-noir never made
Grails members Alex Hall and Emil Amos struck beat-geek paydirt in 2012 with their self-titled debut as Lilacs & Champagne, a musty, scraped-up soak in sample-based psychedelia that played like the lost score to a 1972 Italo-American giallo set in a desert. To continue that cinematic analogy, Danish & Blue is the soundtrack to the best stoner-rap neo-noir never made. It’s the kind of album where RZA-eerie piano loops pair up with heatstruck AOR guitar riffs and decaying fragments of Gary Wright’s synthesizer, soaked in whiskey, and set on fire at 4 in the morning. If that reads like lightweight chillwave kitsch, it ain’t – the drums knock too hard to lull listeners into a reverie. Danish & Blue trades in its predecessor’s bristling spookiness for a mirror-shaded, marquee-lit haze wafting somewhere between sleaze and sophistication — dig the fusion-via-Schifrin bass growl of “Police Story” and the Thin Lizzy-assaults-Precinct 13 dirge of “Hamburgers and Tangerines” for the choicest highlights.