Once again Crunch proves that “it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.” And in this case, the way that he does it is slowly, steadily and seductively. Many artists try to make their point with a sonic sucker-punch, a style over substance quick hit, but Crunch is smarter than that and Play By Play is the proof.
It wanders along in quiet confidence, neither overplaying its hand nor reverting to fad nor fashion, rather blending everything that made early hip-hop so influential with what makes modern rap so popular.
Rising up out of gentle spoken word and chiming sonics, it goes on to revel in the boy/girl, sung/rapped, light/shade delivery, a cascade of contrasts all wrapped in slightly and wonderfully warped electronica and scintillating synths. In fact, Crunch proves to be more effective in his, now trademark, soulful and understated way than many artists are across a whole album worth of tracks.
Not only a master class in not giving away the sonic goods too quickly, in edited song crafting and in a less-is-more way of working but also a song with something to say, which makes a refreshing change.