Finless Brown

The Next Caper (www.browntownwreckords.com)

Was (Not Was) House of Blues, 308 Euclid Avenue 6:30 p.m. Saturday, January 1; $20 and $25; call 216-241-5555
Finless Brown co-MC Paulie Rhyme ends "Number Two" on his band's latest by declaring his intent to party like it's 1995 -- and then raps like it's 1988. And so goes The Next Caper, Finless's full-length debut. The band's 2003 intro, The Browntown EP, established it as one of Cleveland's more promising acts, a funk-soul sextet that plays live hip-hop with an unusual gimmick: In addition to Rhyme's socially conscious raps, his wife Moto's tooth-rattling vibrato alternates between English and Japanese.

Caper continues where Browntown left off, without missing a step or adding a trick. Rhyme rhymes "bucket" and "fuck it," "caper" and "paper," and calls out suckers and chumps. In "Stand Up" and other cuts, he habitually exaggerates the band's status as "real hip-hop," though they attract some experienced guest stars, including Lords of the Underground's DJ Jazz and Wu-Tang affiliate 4th Disciple. Finless Brown still has potential, but that potential is gathering dust.

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