Grand Central - 2004 - 42 minutes
Manchester's Henry Smithson AKA Riton made a bit of a name for himself a few years back with a precocious debut album and a slew of quality remixes. Before long he had headed for the bright lights of the big city.
Judging by the contents of 'Homies and Homos', moving to London hasn't exactly released Smithson's inner creativity. 'Beats Du Jour' boasted a varied, scattergun approach that really stood out from Grand Central's roster of tasteful, but often dull, hip-hop artists.
There's little sign of Riton building on this solid early work. Instead we're treated to a patchy collection of modish electroclash, jaded hip-hop beats and pallid indie-rock. With some predictably sleazy vocals and 1980s instrumental stylings, this is an album that is trying too hard to be hip. Even the choice of cover version, a technofied thrash through the Cure's 'Killing An Arab' seems perfectly judged to please his trendy East London/Williamsburg cronies.
From the dreadful album title to the self-regarding cover art, this is a deeply underwhelming release from someone who has talent and skill to burn. The only consolations are the hummability of tracks like 'Angerman', 'Damaged Goods' and 'Candyman', as well as the welcome use of the word "shitehawk" as a song title. Sadly, this excellent phrase could also apply to the song's creator…
Tracklisting: Henney - Shite Hawk - Anger Man - Damaged Goods - Killing An Arab - Candy - Homeless - Out In The Open - Jumbotronic - New Disease - Square Eyes