If the Bloodhound Gang were virgins, they'd sound like BattleCry Melody.
Fusing acoustic guitar, funk and whole lot of hip-hop soul, the Seattle five-piece makes white-boy rap-rock that's fun and satisfying, but most importantly, it doesn't take itself too seriously. Sure, sexual innuendos and words that rhyme with "vagina" have their place, but so does Eminem with blonde hair and the cast of Friends.
Take "What Goes Up" for starters. Though I can't pick out every word in the initial burst of rhymes -- though I'm fairly sure I heard "Paul Revere" and "Everclear" -- the slow, head-bopping beats collide with a smooth 311-esque chorus that's centered around a feeling, not an idea.
In fact, "These Times" and "Chase Your Times" couldn't be any further from your typical rap songs. One kicks off with pounding snare, acoustic guitar and muffled mono-vocals, and the other could be from a more serious moment in any Zach Braff film ... at least for the first 50 seconds.
Vanquish continuously blends genre lines and musical attitudes, which is a refreshing break from many albums that kick in at the 0:01 mark and never look back. Don't get me wrong: hip-hop isn't for everyone, especially when it's performed by a white guy, but if some sick beats and rhythm is what gets you moving, you'd be hard pressed to find a better new local release. Even if they don't dress up as monkeys and chase dwarfs.