Give - Balkan Beat Box
Nat Geo Music
“Welcome to the USA, we hope you’ll have a wonderful day.” One of the most simplistic and catchiest choruses on Give, the 4th studio album from Balk Beat Box, drips with sarcasm. The song called Enemy In Economy recalls singer/rapper Tomer Yosef’s real life experience with good ol’ fashioned American racial profiling, coming home on an Alaska Airlines flight. Playing with his new camera in the plane, the swarthy third of Brooklyn’s BBB inadvertently panicked the stewardess who made sure Tomer was met by TSA personnel and dogs when he debarked (pun intended). It obviously pissed him off considerably and made for one of the album’s most outstanding tracks. There’s actually a lot of pent up frustration and anger on Give, which in today’s mellow singer/writer culture is way refreshing. Recorded by the three principals of BBB, Tomer, Tamir Muskat and Ori Kaplan, alone in Tel Aviv’s Vibramonk Studios, Give is the band’s most stripped down offering to date. Relying on their own creative spark, some children’s toys and reams of homemade samples, their angst is partnered with sparse electronics and a smattering of klezmer licks and Med percussion. It’s minimalist, maybe to a fault. I do miss the broader global references of earlier recordings in the arrangements, but it does serve to focus your ears on the clever and barbed lyricism. Each of the three friends is a new father. We were introduced to Tomer’s new born on the last album, Blue Eyed Black Boy. The state of the world they will bequeath to their offspring is what fuelled the rage on Give, the title itself alluding to the question, “What will we give to our children?” Tomer explains, "When you have kids, you become a little more aware of what's happening in the world and what kind of world that we're leaving your kids. When we started looking around, we didn't like what we saw and that gave us the urge to speak out, to use the little power that we have to change things." And, while the kids were running around the studio, the band was working through some of their most hardcore tunes to date, not mincing any words on explosive cuts like Political Fuck, Money and Porno Clown (the latter two built around a fantasy character who is a big shot capitalist teetering on insanity). There’s lots to make you think that being on the receiving end of Give, the album, is far better than being on the receiving end of the anger that spawned it.