Tracklist1. Forcefield Intro
2. In The Bioburbs
3. Creature In The Classroom
4. The Pins In The Bowels Of The Charmed Design
5. Old Aunt Mary
6. Free Luv, From Left Field
7. Whine Money
8. The Unstrung Harp
9. The Kareoki (sp?) Kiss Ass
10. Put together, Play, Red Ferrari Calendar
11. Jail 4 Lil’ Geniuses
14. The Unspectacular White Boy Slave Song
15. Spring ’97
17. Reagan’s Chest
18. All The News That’s Fit To Print
20. Poem To The Hospital
21. Pail Of Air
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If you approach The Forcefield Kids looking for a straightforward hip-hop album (which, in name, it is) then you’ll be sorely disappointed and/or very confused. As with much of Anticon’s output, hip-hop’s tricks and tools have been utilized to their most bizarre and satisfying extremes, and this album is a continuation of the label’s superb tradition. In fact, it could be said that The Forcefield Kids is the ultimate distillation of everything that anticon has so far achieved -- the keyboards have Alias’ melancholy ambience. The vocals sometimes sound like Why?, sometimes like Dose, occasionally like Sole. Even, Odd Nosdam’s ear for absurd samples plays a major part in some of the songs. Saying this, it still has Passage’s individuality stamped all over it.
Of the twenty-one tracks on the album, only two clock in at more than three minutes long, and many of them are much shorter than this, making sure that there is no time at all for the listener to get bored – not that they would anyway. For the most part, the tracks are a combination of synthesisers, drum machines and Passage's bizarre lyrics. The beats are hard, and the loops are sharp and fast – think Tubeway Army era Gary Numan with attention deficiency disorder (the first track could have been lifted from Replicas) or Atom And His Package trying to make break-neck hip-hop instead of punk, and you’re some of the way there.
Lyrically, Passage is trying to communicate his apathy and dismay towards society, but he steadfastly refuses to make this obvious. Instead of telling it to us straight, he seems to want us to feel his disappointment through disjointed imagery. For example, take this from the album’s first single, Creature In The Classroom, which contains the lines: “Tin teeth, shin guard, first string rich kids/ Get the indoor soccer flat soles/ Special needs kids get the medhead puppet show/ At little round tables with grad school ass holes”. Eventually, meaning can be extrapolated (as far as I can see Passage is using this song to highlight issues with the education system, but I could be wrong). Or there’s the fabulous, sing-a-long chorus from The Unspectacular White Boy Slave Song: “White boys ain’t got no slave songs/ So we invented radiation/ Who other than us wonder bread shit heads/ Would go out and build an H-Bomb?” (I’ll also point out here that I’ve quoted two of the least difficult lyrics on the album).
I could describe evocative imagery from Forcefield Kids for hours. I could talk about the album even longer – it’s a dense, patterned work that has a lot to offer if you give it the time it deserves. Suffice to say that if you don’t hold much of an interest in the more avant-garde directions of electronica and hip-hop, then you’ll be unlikely to find much here to grab you. If you approach this music with an open-mind and a quick ear, then you’re bound to fall in love with it.