Why Manchester is the new creative epicentre of neo-soul and hip-hop
Our album reviews column runs alongside our regular Album of the Week reviews, giving you a succinct analysis of some of the records that are on Dummy's radar that week. This week, we look at new releases by Låpsley and Rae Sremmurd.
Album of the Week: Ghost Culture 'Ghost Culture'
"…Greenwood's creative voice is distinctive enough to shine through all kinds of interference and instrumentation, and his singularity and vision on 'Ghost Culture' make for a spirited album. Listeners who might expect a pulse more akin to Daniel Avery's work will be left short following the album's first few tracks, but this was never Ghost Culture's intention…" Read the full review here.
Låpsley 'Understudy' EP
'Understudy' appears to be a misleading names for Holly Fletcher’s first major release. As is Falling Short, a track that has pushed Låpsley at the forefront of critical recognition. These titles are hoodwinks, as the EP sees the young Liverpudlian artist step into 2015 with light and ease
Four tracks of minimalist pop, ‘Understudy’ provide a studied, measured balance between vocals and instrumentation. Closing song Dancing rises to an atmosphere that so few can climb on a debut release, whereas 8896 shows a delicacy in her impressive vocal range otherwise unseen. While 'Understudy' may be suited to moments of reflection and solitude, there are moments that peer at a more sing-a-long aspect to Fletcher's future work.
On Brownlow, Låpsley states, I wouldn’t say that I was known for doing the right thing, as well as exploring a feeling of discomfort in her own skin. Any doubts she has for herself as a musician provide another misdirection, but after the studying the EP, it seems hard to see how Låpsley could improve already. It already seems that Låpsley is primed and polished for the year. Sean Stanley
XL Recordings released the 'Understudy' EP on January 5th 2015 (buy).
Rae Sremmurd 'Sremmlife'
In 2014, the club went up on a Tuesday 'bout a week ago and nobody had a type in hip hop. Singles within the genre inspired a million Vine posts and became part of our every day lexicon, but the EP/album format proved a more challenging feat. Rae Sremmurd, the two people behind two of 2014’s biggest singles, No Flex Zone and No Type, have built more than enough anticipation around their full-length. ‘Sremmlife’ sees Rae Sremmurd follow a similar trajectory to iLoveMakonnen, leaning listeners in with a melodic, celestial chord progressing song in the form of No Type.
The rest of the record, however, strips away that sheen for the same insistent trap hi-hats that rattle gratingly over each track. There’s little to no variation on the record, each track progresses in a similar way and all of their meme-creating one liners blend into one another when listened to in succession. If Rae Sremmurd’s music exists in a world where the party never stops and the drinks are poured like a fountain, then 'Sremmlife' is the lone person attempting to keep the party going, well after the lights are turned on and everyone wants to go home. Aurora Mitchell
Interscope released 'Sremmlife' on January 5th 2015 (buy).