We reviewed The Hell Hole Store’s Three The Hard Way.
The holidays are finally over, or almost over if you work in a grocery store. However, there’s one gift left under the tree. There was no name on the wrapper, so I took it, opened it, disposed of all evidence of my sin, and gave it a listen. The gift, called “Three The Hard Way,” is instalment three in a thrillogy of albumdry by The Hell Hole Store, two dudes who in my book are number 1. ialive and Darko The Super are friends in real life, and it shows through their chemistry. I recommend you grab hold of this album and gently slam it against a membrane, whichever one, doesn’t matter. Pick your favorite. For those who would rather not listen but immediately want to know more can continue reading. For those who don’t want to continue reading, you’re free to go. “Return to The Hell Hole Store” was the duo’s second album and I’m no geologist, but it was rock solid, folks. With that in mind I was very excited for this next instalment.
The album begins like how a bad day at elementary school ends: with a phone call. However, this phone call is a precursor to jam sessions, not a precursor to month-old meatloaf that tastes like no TV and no video games for the same age as said meatloaf. Once ialive is finished with Darko’s voicemail, “Already Dead” bumps onto the scene. I like the imagery that Darko and ialive are employed at an establishment called The Hell Hole Store, and I think they do too. Something about the way they rap is very endearing. It’s almost as if they like doing it!
The next track takes things up a notch lyrically and… sonically? Is that the word we use? The boys strut on the steady momentum of “Blare In Your Face.” These guys have some of the most fun and quotable lyrics that unfortunately get slept on by Americans ages 10 and up. And I love the contrast in styles. ialive throws out some monumental lines about ancient civilizations in this one, partnered with Darko’s aggressive pop- and unpopped-culture nods and snack aisle refs. The wondrous thoughtfield of ialive and the whimsical anger of Darko combine to create a a seasoned mix of friendship and fun-toting mischief. Baby, we got a stew going!
Music is a delicious composition with everything ialive and Darko prepare, because I say so. They have the raw lyricism, spiced up to make sure you savor it, but tenderized to make sure you don’t have to chew too hard. Taking the proper precautions, the lyrics are then dropped into a simmering funky beat, with ripe samples gently stirred in. Finally, a bunch of secret ingredients and techniques I know very little about, and a song is served. Every palate is different, so it’s not for everybody, but I always ask for seconds when “Alright, Alright, Alright” is on the menu.
In terms of musical accomplishment the Hell Hole Store seems to do what most others do, but without sounding like most others do. Some dudes are pretty corn-on-the-cob with their messages, but ialive doesn’t preach. He just says things that slide the rock out of my shoe. Darko on the other claw tends to have more Trix up his sleeve, and an endless stream of beverages ready to pop off. They came to just drop cold rhymes, and they brought friends. The featured artist DayTripper on “3 Man Stomp” definitely caught my ear. He fought the cliché, and just as I thought he was falling into another trope of being an iconoclast, he switched it up and talked about taking a selfie shit. Truly a royal flush. Stomach me!
The Hell Hole Store and its employees are pros, plain and simple. One trick up their shared sleeves involves the power of sampling. For example, “Martian King” sounds too much like a trip through space, but not current space; ’70s space, which was way different. More titties, less black holes. Not everything needs my overcritical analysis. The dudes went to Mars. Houston, we have a banger. “Futurehead” is an instant favorite. In fact, there are a high number of songs I’ll revisit frequently. They will go nicely as I run on the farking wall in NFL Street 2. The Hell Hole Store: where Super Bowls are born.
The Hell Hole Store produces funnies 7 days a week, but they spark a flint even when the subject matter is more depressing. “I’ll Take What I Can Get” connects with a roundhouse kick of reality, one that most of us experience at least once, maybe one-thousand times. This dirge reminds me of trying to stay creative, but also working to make money to survive, usually at jobs we don’t like, and also trying to make time for friends and family in there somewhere. The hard reality is that we will almost never be in love with our job, we will want to do things that make us happy for a living, but that doesn’t work out for all of us. Featuring a humbling verse from Open Mike Eagle, this song will probably strike a chord in you that has been twanged before by another creative spirit. We are all in this motivational cat poster together.
There comes a point in every review where I start to think why even bother reviewing music? In an age where nobody reads and uno Bobby writes, shouldn’t I just rebirth my twitter and tell people to listen instead of writing full pages? The answer to these questions will hurt my feelings, so I will stop and list some choice quotes from to get you interested (and trust me, there are so, so many more where these came from):
“So full of cheese your middle name is perogis”ialive
“Just like that episode when the Green Goblin got shot”Darko The Super
“Jeff Sessions gave me indigestion”ialive
Maybe I’ve been playing too much hacked Modern Warfare 2 lately, or maybe “Not Joking” is a tactical insertion the likes of which I’ve never before quickscoped. Darko has a history of low success with critics due to his hyper-transparency and unwaveringly-wavery lyrical style. He has been called a joke before, but the real joke is on those who fail to see the big picture of creativity. It’s not what makes money, not what makes you fit in or stand out, not about being so purposefully edgy and arrhythmic that you open a portal to the seven circles of Hipster Hell (which is located in the top oven of an Ikea showroom kitchen). It’s about art and honest expression, unless it isn’t.
We are all living in the Hell Hole. And unlike an Ikea food court, you’ll want to see how this sausage is made. Hidden beneath the twin goofballery is a funky cyst of intelligent lyrics and memorable lines. But people it ain’t malignant, so it won’t hurt you. If you’re the owner of a brain that lights up when it hears fabulous lyrics, I say give this album a go, and also the two previous albums if you’re really digging it, and examine the crews other projects if you’re really drilling for oil. Check out Three The Hard Way from your local library (or Bandcamp)! But ask for your parents’ permission before getting wild on the beat juice. Anyway, goodbye for now. I have to go boil a night guard so it grips my weird teeth.
- Voicemail (Intro)
- Already Dead
- Blare In Your Face
- Breaking Free
- Alright, Alright, Alright
- 3 Man Stomp (feat. DayTripper of The Difference Machine)
- Not Joking (Interlude)
- Martian King
- I’ll Take What I Can Get (feat. Open Mike Eagle)
- Stock Up
- Drop Cold Rhymes (feat. Height Keech)
- Donnie Don’t Do It