Phrenology

Further eschewing the two-turn-tables-and-a-microphone ethos that defines much contemporary hip-hop, Philadelphia alt-rap collective the Roots delve deeper into the use of organic instrumentation on t

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 26

Further eschewing the two-turn-tables-and-a-microphone ethos that defines much contemporary hip-hop, Philadelphia alt-rap collective the Roots delve deeper into the use of organic instrumentation on their latest effort, experimenting with everything from Bad Brains-style punk to Queen-inspired bombast ("Rock You") and Rolling Stones-styled guitar licks ("The Seed 2.0"). Mixing rock, funk, soul, and jazz, Phrenology marks the band's most challenging—and rewarding—album. Much of that success lies in its ability to capture the natural vibe of the Roots' live act, which has been largely missing in previous studio work. This is perhaps best reflected on the epic "Water," a sprawling and strange 10-minute, groove-fueled jam that is a microcosm of the album's sensibilities. Notable guests include Nelly Furtado ("Sacrifice") and Talib Kweli ("Rolling With Heat").—BG