Touching on everything from family, money, the idea of letting go, past times and everything in between, Carner has created a sensitive and confessional compilation of songs that add a hip-hop and RnB dimension to his eclectic sound.
The eclectic album features King Krule-esque jazz guitar ( Stars & Shards), elements of deep soul (Ain't Nothing Changed) and even the nostalgic reminiscence of a Beatles track in the closing song (Yesterday's Gone.) Although identifying as a grime artist, Carner is much more personal than many other MC's emerging on the scene; his music is poetic and feels autobiographical whilst never overlooking the melodies that make a song so memorable.
'Damselfly' features Tom Misch, a hugely influential young London jazz artist, whilst 'Swear' and 'Rebel 101' are just simple conversations between himself and the people he loves. All the songs on the album exemplify the extent of his adoration for his family, especially his Mum, who he gives a moment to in 'Swear' as she gives him a pep-talk about his language. After rejection from his biological father, Carner credits himself to his family and support network; they developed him and made him who he is.
'Florence' is about an imaginary little sister who he wishes he could "shelter from school when all the snitches start to snicker" and "Remember that I promised her some pancakes/So I stagger to the stove and start to stand braze/See I make 'em like my Nan makes." There is so much emphasis on intense family relationships in this album with the discussion of girls making it onto a couple of tracks (+44, Mean It In The Morning.)
The album is honest and, despite the focus on lyrics, the music is candid and well thought through . 'Mrs C' is soft - using bongos, trumpet and a little upright piano. The balance between the lyrics and the music is perfect throughout the entire album. Carner uses beautiful chords and does not underestimate the importance of pretty instrumentation to go with his words, 'Damselfly' is a perfect example of this.
It's exciting to think of what he will give us next. After recently launching Chilli Con Carner, a venture aiming to help young people with ADHD through cooking, Carner has shown he is considerate and switched on; he is definitely one to pay close attention to.
- Image courtesy of Flickr/Stéphane Gueguen