The Books, "The Way Out"

Album Review

New York duo the Books continue their tradition of using intriguing vocal samples behind folk-and electronic-based compositions on fourth album "The Way Out." This time around, the group also mixes jazz-fusion with quirky dialogue that ranges from meditation speeches to intimate voice mails. Over spastic basslines and drum rolls on the song "A Cold Freezin' Night," there's a strange conversation between two kids discussing different ways to kill each other, and a meditative voice on the hip-hop sounding "Chain of Missing Links" instructs the listener to "Give yourself a rest/Allow yourself to release." A rare moment of actual singing arrives during "All You Need is a Wall," where guitarist Nick Zammuto channels the somberness of Radiohead, while "The Story of Hip Hop" is an ode to the musical genre reminiscent of Grand Master Flash but stays true to the Books' cut-and-paste rhythmic style.