Aitch - Party Round My Place (feat. Avelino and Toddla T)
A rising star to come out of the grime scene in the past few years, Aitch has returned with a song that is a joyous club-like romp, assisted by fellow grime rapper Avelino and produced by Toddla T. The track is very much aiming for banger status, with a heavy afrobeat influence that gives it its bouncy, danceable presence, it sounds full and lively, a credit to the immaculate production on display from Toddla T. Aitch shows off his lyrical prowess expertly, firing off bar after bar of fast and complex lines, but in a fashion that lends itself to the song’s hyped up nature without being too overwhelmingly technical. Avelino is a wonderful addition, his rapping is as equally impressive as his soulful, R&B vocals that can be found in the song’s catchy hook. The track is a boisterous but calculated one, and is well worth the listen.
CHAII - Get It Done
Bringing a more minimalist approach, CHAII uses her vocals in a relaxed way, whilst still bringing a swagger to each brief line. The song is relatively sparse instrumentally, with only a deep electronic bass, thin hi-hats and fluttering guitar as the backdrop. Although her performance verges on almost lazy, the song is not without lyrical substance, “You feel important / I feel imported” is a particularly gripping line. The only caveat to it is the length of the song, which is topping out at barely over two and a half minutes. Just as the track starts to get going, it ends – which is unfortunate, as it takes a little while to get accustomed to CHAII’s unique vocal delivery. Nevertheless, Get It Done is an enjoyable and unconventional hip hop track, even if it does leave you wanting more.
Sleep Token - Descending
Taking a step back from their usual metallic and abrasive nature, Sleep Token have lessened the deep heavy guitar tones apparent in much of their first record, Sundowning, instead opting for a more electronic approach on Descending. The Metal band are known for their ethereal and almost sensual delivery, particularly down to their vocalist VESSEL, his soulful crooning complementing the more reserved track, and lending some moving poetry focused on love and loss. The band seem to keep their edge despite pulling back on the intensity. The heaviness comes from sinister sounding synths in the backdrop, as well as glitchy drum patterns and sub bass. Descending is structured like a pop song, and sounds more palatable than anything Sleep Token has produced, which will undoubtedly grow the band’s fan base. After already making waves in the alternative scene, their newest album This Place Will Become Your Tomb capitalises on their unique sound and progresses it, and this record is likely to catapult them to even further success.
Kojey Radical - War Outside (feat. Lex Amor)
Kojey Radical brings forward another triumphant track with War Outside, with one of the most engaging songs of his career so far. This is both from a production and songwriting perspective, but also from the themes expressed in the song. Although relatively sombre lyrically, speaking to the troubles surrounding the world and equating them to a war, Kojey Radical manages to sprinkle some fun flavour into the track, notably in the whistling intro (akin to a western film score), his clever lyricism when rapping or singing, and the highly distorted hums found at the beginning of the track. Guest artist Lex Amor proves her lyrical chops too, but in a humble and thoughtful way the feature gives her great exposure and really adds to Kojey’s own depth without distracting from the piece as a whole, they together convey an incredibly professional experience that is hard to fault.
IDLES - The Beachland Ballroom
Consistently tearing down the walls of what an alternative band should sound like, IDLES are still paving their own way within the musical landscape. The first track released after the announcement of the band’s next record, Crawler, is a complete departure from the norm. Not that fans expect the conventional when it comes to the group. The Beachland Ballroom starts off slower, with a nice swing to it. The song still has a grungy side to it, with heavy bass and the occasional sporadic distorted guitar. Vocalist Joe Talbot’s vocal performance is way more reserved than his usual punkish barking, but is still immediate and captivating, and sounds completely individual. Cascading guitars build and build throughout as Talbot intensifies his singing, eventually escalating into a post-punk style end that drives the song to an emotional close. The Beachland Ballroom demonstrates why IDLES are one of the most important, exciting and progressive bands of current times, and is a fantastic teaser for what may be coming with their next record.