After spending 3 years in a legal battle that ultimately saw him serve 18 weeks in prison, Ceschi makes his grand return to music with Broken Bone Ballads. Produced by fellow Fake Four Inc artist, Factor, the album seems Ceschi at his most emotional and personal yet.
Ceschi’s style has always been hard to describe. “Kurzweil” features Ceschi’s brother David Ramos along with rappers iCON the Mic King and Shoshin. The track’s dark piano-laden beat and group rapping is reminiscent of Doomtree but that is an exception rather than the rule with Ceschi. Generally his music falls into two categories: alt-rap similar to his labelmate Busdriver or minimalist acoustic tracks that sound somewhere between Neutral Milk Hotel and Astronautalis (another labelmate).
Opening track, “Choke Parade” features Factor’s glitchy beat that breaks into a horn-filled chorus sung by Ceschi himself. The track sounds triumphant but Ceschi raps about the grayness of Connecticut winters and how fleeting fame can be. It is followed by “Say Something,” an acoustic track that sounds like an old Irish drinking song. Ceschi sings about his court case in more definitive words, talking about the uncertainty of his freedom and imagining what prison might be like. Its a deeply personal track while still showing a bit of insouciance.
Lightheartedness is not necessarily a characteristic of the album. On “This Won’t Last Forever,” Ceschi raps “back when I was 10 saying ‘fuck the police’/20 years later know exactly what that means,” a witty turn of phrase but with meaning behind it considering personal issues and well as modern social inequality.
Ultimately that is the gift that Ceschi’s Broken Bone Ballads gives us. It is Ceschi’s most personal album while it also feels like his most relatable. He doesn’t soften his weirdness or try to pigeonhole himself in any genre, but the album feels accessible both lyrically and musical making it by far his best yet.