“Cellar door” has been cited as one of the most phonetically beautiful phrases in the English language, regardless of how it’s used. It’s an ironic title for an album that tries so persistently to convey its message; even if the writing by the Underachievers — the Flatbush, Brooklyn duo of AK and Issa Gold — is inconsistent, it always sounds good. Both rappers are technically brilliant, deftly sticking and moving in double-time on tracks like “Radiance” and particularly “Chrysalis,” where their flows twist in and out of trap percussion and an icy vocal sample. The pair wisely balance instrumental flavors, but their rapacious delivery is at odds with the overall positive attitude. “Felicity” is a convincing call for personal empowerment wrapped in a dream-pop blanket; “Amorphous” is the ideal marriage of evocative production and lyrics — witness AK string together rhymes ending in “focused,” “commotion,” and “moment” without batting an eye. An underwhelming middle stretch aside, this cellar is worth exploring. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Chrysalis”Martín Caballero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @_el_caballero.