I said it in my last review of a Prefuse 73 release (the The 92' VS '02 Collection EP), but it bears stating again that pretty much everything Scott Herren has released in his already-prolific career can be counted on for quality. One Word Extinguisher is only his second full-length under the Prefuse 73 moniker (2 years following his debut Vocal Studies And Uprock Narratives), and it finds him continuing down the path that he's carved out so well.
Having said that, the release simply doesn't sound quite as fresh this time around. With 23 tracks that run over an hours worth of time, there's definitely more than enough to go around, but that latter point is also one of the main weaknesses for the disc in my mind. Coming from a person who used to balk when an album clocked in at less than 60 minutes, it's almost a bit weird for me to state the above, but Herron seems to work the best when he strikes more quickly and then leaves you wanting more. One Word Extinguisher opens and closes with a batch of great songs, but gets a bit soggy in the middle, treading similar ground several times over again and tossing out tracks that feel too similar to what we've already heard from him.
As mentioned above, the album starts out with a stunning batch of tracks. After a short intro track of 'oohs and aahs,' the album stars in earnest with the fast-attack of "The End Of Biters." It runs just over a minute long, but the track is a stuttering, cut-up hip-hop track that blows the doors off the gate and sets the tone of things to come. "Plastic" features Diverse on vocal duties, and it shows off Herrens smooth dynamics as he cruises between warm, exposed keyboard melodies and chunky beats. "Uprock And Invigorate" continues the streak, shuffling panning organs and upright bass over another one of his perfect beats before dropping some dirty 909 sounds over it all and skronking things out further.
Other standouts on the front-end include the beat-boxing versus stuttering organ sounds of "Busy Signal" and the hitched-up and shuddering electro-beats of "90% Of My Mind Is With You." Mr. Lif drops in and adds a short bit of vocals on "Huevos With Jeff And Rani," but at only a minute and a half, the track feels a bit trunicated before dropping into the hilarious beginning of "Female Demands." From there, the album hits a bit of a lull, though. "Perverted Undertone" is nice and warm, but cruises down familiar roads, while "Choking You" mixes a chunky beat with alternately buzzing and floating keyboard melodies. Even though "Storm Returns" mixes things up with a great guitar melody loop and some glitched-out effects, I can't shake the feeling that I've heard the same beat 4 times previous already.
In the end, I don't have any huge problems with the album, but still feel like several tracks could have been cut out to make it an even tighter release. Herron obviously creates tracks at a maddening pace (releasing work under three different names), and the fact that one of the more interesting songs on the entire disc is actually a 'hidden' (or at least unlisted) track might be a sign that he was simply trying to cram too much onto this release. Although it's not a huge change in direction, it's that aforementioned album-closing track that actually leaves me the most hopeful about future releases from Herron. With it's integration of even more traditional instruments, it's a sign we're probably still just seeing the tip of the iceberg in what Herron has done.