Mark 2010 as the year Doomtree officially defined itself beyond just a great rap crew. Sure, there had been hints of it since their conception, but this year’s release schedule made it undeniable—spearheaded by Dessa’s fantastic Badly Broken Code, with the release of the forthcoming, highly intriguing Lazerbeak solo debut later this year. Nicely nestled in-between the two is Paper Tiger’s Made Like Us.
The album is predominantly instrumental with a few vocal offerings from Dessa (3) and Lookbook’s Maggie Morrison (1). “Palace” is great example of Dessa’s use of poetic license. The chorus informs and perhaps slightly taunts: “All that trouble you been looking for came looking for you/Shouldn’t open doors you don’t plan to walk through.” Another highlight is the opening line to the final verse: “The angel on your shoulder doesn’t say too much these days/And is seems you’re getting older faster than most men your age.”
The music is filled with growling synths, beautiful pianos, and spacey echoes and effects. The bass drums are punchy as well as heavy and resonant when necessary. The snares are crispy and purposefully loud. Overall the programming and instrumentation is well crafted and mood influencing. When I try to visualize moments or scenes set by the album, the mental pictures are best set as black and white, suggesting certain classiness to it all. That being said, the album is probably most appropriate at night. I envision it being perfect for a first date, or better yet, the soundtrack for a longtime couple on their first romantic evening in a long while. That being said, Made Like Us, evokes a few different types of emotional states (loneliness, aging, love, hard choices, etc.), making it ripe for a time of reflection.
Written By Kevin Beacham