Inner West Sydney hip-hop crew Triple One have set the bar high. In 2020, they delivered a first blockbuster, “Panic Force”. Now they’re back with their inaugural mixtape, ‘A Dangerous Method Vol. 1’ – and they dipped their toes in the rave. But is this a declaration or a palliative?
Triple One – MCs Obi III Terrors and Marty Bugatti, singer Lil Dijon and DJ/producer Billy Gunns – reached No. 8 on the ARIA Albums Chart with “Panic Force.” Yet inevitably his promotion and the momentum of Triple One have been limited by COVID-19, with border closures and distracted audiences.
As such, “A Dangerous Method” – the first of two volumes to materialize in 2022 – can be read as a strategic post-pandemic venture, allowing Triple One to tour and further capitalize on their July appearance at Splendor. In The Grass. They released the lead single last September, “Blood Rave,” the carnal electronic R&B track co-produced by Lucianblomkamp, with Dijon stealing the show.
For “Panic Force,” Triple One introduced “a post-apocalyptic space theme.” By contrast, ‘A Dangerous Method’, a collection of tracks accumulated during lockdown, lacks an obvious purpose. It shares a title with David Cronenberg’s gripping 2011 film about Sigmund Freud, the pioneering psychoanalyst’s so-called “talk therapy” that has already sparked controversy.
But aside from looting sound bites from Freud’s associate-turned-rival Carl Jung, the cerebral concept isn’t developed — even as Triple One’s lyrics explore the hedonistic impulses and vagaries of romantic relationships, two concerns of long time. The latest single, ‘Neon Dreamboat’, could be a Trippie Redd love ballad, an Auto-Tuned Marty rap chant: “Holy shit / I fell in love with her… Holy shit / I think I screwed up.”
“A Dangerous Method” won’t be mistaken for an album in the way, say, Stevan’s pop ‘n’B mixtapes “Just Kids” and “Ontogeny” were. But it does contain bangers, with Triple One retaining its art-rap ethos and approaching “A Dangerous Method” as an opportunity to experiment more with styles beyond rap – heartily aided by buzzy Sydney producer 18YOMAN, who since ” Panic Force”, was credited on Kid Cudi’s “Man On The Moon III: The Chosen”.
Invariably, Triple One is compared to Brockhampton as a move in its own right. And, as the American “boyband” did on “Iridescence” in 2018, the Sydneysiders revel in rave, big beat and drum ‘n’ bass. ‘Gunshow’ is The Prodigy with a trap twist. The song pivots on a quiet-loud dynamic, Dijon singing spectrally, “Ooh and it’s not just what it seems / Ooh won’t you burn me at the stake / Ooh there’s nothing, nothing I could ever want.” “Smoke and Mirror Machine” merges the haunting electro of Cybotron and the ambient synthscapes of Vangelis, Obi “feigning coping mechanisms:”I was taking cocaine on my worst day.”
Like Dominic Fike, Triple One is also adept at importing cloud rap tropes into alternative rock. Among the mixtape’s quieter moments, “Ghost” is a grungy ode to absent love that culminates in strings. Obi poetically raps, “I keep my feelings in a backpack, in the garden, underground / With the earth and the worms / They’re cold, but they don’t hurt / I don’t know why I turn away. Is it better? Is it worse ?”
“A Dangerous Method Vol 1” may not be the vehicle that takes Triple One to the next level. But it shows the band is back on track after the pandemic derailment and ready to push deeper into uncharted sonic territory.
- Release date: April 8
- Record company: Independent