The Housing Prodgect EP
Click to hear: “It’s Your World”
In the year since its suburb debut full-length hit the streets, Miss Fairchild has grown from a duo to a trio, toured the States, and released two glorified singles: a promo-only disc consisting of variations on “One of Those Girls” (a song from the LP) and a couple bonus tracks; and The Housing Prodgect EP, which is basically two new tracks and three remixes of the same. The good news for fans: Miss Fairchild is mutating quite nicely.
Originally a pairing of big-haired MC Wrall Skillz and DJ P.Nice, Miss Fairchild’s 2004 :Album was the smart, catchy, funny surprise of the year. Described in promo materials as “a musical journey from Memphis Soul to New Jack swing, with a drive through Paisley Park on the way to your underpants,” the full-length melded the nimble rap-comedy of early De La Soul and Black Sheep with the dense, complex musicality of Prince. This was no small feat for a couple young white guys from the less-than-mean streets of Nantucket.
Among the strengths of 2004’s :Album was the way the duo supplemented synthesizer programming and turntable work with live instrumentation, including bass, guitar, horns and percussion. A key musical contributor was The Great Dunlap, who added guitar, bass and flute to several tracks on the full-length.
The Housing Prodgect EP was originally a studio collaboration between Wrall Skillz and The Great Dunlap – the two share production credits and created most of the music together. But as the side project progressed, the pair realized they wanted P.Nice to be more involved (his participation makes it possible to perform the songs live). “At that point, Miss Fairchild sort of swallowed the project,” said Todd “The Rocket” Richard, co-owner and promoter of Nantucketastrophe Records, the group’s label (Richard is also Wrall Skillz’ brother).
The Great Dunlap’s leap from sideman to full-fledged member gives Miss Fairchild a more organic sound. His disco-guitar line and funky bass on “It’s Your World” are a welcome development, as are his vocal turn and guitar shredding on “Starstruck,” the other full track on this EP. “Starstruck” also features some punchy horns (P.Nice appears here on sax), and “It’s Your World” has great horn work and a backing-vocal hook that sticks in your head and refuses to leave for days.
The first track on this EP, “Gotta Go Time,” is actually a 36-second set-up skit for “It’s Your World.” Housing Prodgect includes two remixes of “It’s Your World” and P.Nice’s “Stark Naked” mix of “Starstruck.”
The first remix of “World,” by j.hjort (a.k.a. Jason Hjort, the guy who designedThe Bollard Web site), is a sleek electro-house version that transforms the song’s vocals into computer-speak and adds various blips and beeps. Overall, it’s an ear-pleasing effort. By contrast, Ammon EP’s more percussive remix begins to grate toward the end of its six-and-a-half minutes, though he incorporates samples from the original song in some interesting ways.
Miss Fairchild’s sense of humor – the shtick of self-conscious club hoppers with dreams of dance-floor fame, pop stardom and booty aplenty — has only been enhanced by The Great Dunlap’s more prominent role. If Wrall Skillz and P.Nice fully incorporate Dunlap on the group’s next full-length, Ooh-La-La, Sha Sha(slated for next spring), the results could be akin to the giant step A Tribe Called Quest made by giving Phife a full voice on their sophomore masterpiece, The Low End Theory.
The Housing Prodgect EP provides a glimpse of even greater things to come from this group. Spring can’t come soon enough.
— Chris Busby
Miss Fairchild performs Fri., Dec. 16, at Space Gallery.