By Bobby McCarty
The impending doom of ‘Tell Them It’s Winter’ continues the job that Edward Scissortongue and Lamplighter started with ‘Chavassian Striking Distance’. From the outset the implications are deep and unapologetic, the album leans on themes of pain, loneliness, vice and even violence, all of which uncomfortably associate with the deepest common emotion, love. Despite the joylessness of the music, that is what underpins the second release from this collaboration and it’s a stroke of genius from the creators seeing as, however inconvenient it may be, love does tend to have dire consequences at some point for us all.
But still, it’s hard not to fall for the daunting mire of music and storytelling. There’s something which brings all the aspects of paranoia, existentialism, subconsciousness and loneliness together into a compelling yet introspective album. It’s not the kind of music that’ll make it onto your summer party playlists, but rather it’s the music you might listen to while walking home thinking about how much you hate your job, which is probably therapeutic or something.
The beats from Lamplighter set the tone perfectly, at times it’s probably better to call it a score as if it’s cinematic. Mostly minimal and understated the music moves through stages as the story does, rather than just existing as a backing track for run-of-the-mill lyrics Lamplighter‘s tracks really seem to uphold and fuel the tone set by Ed Scissor.
There is talk of a live show or tour of some kind which raises some questions as this isn’t your usual stage fed hip-hop. Done right and with the right supporting artists this could make for a captivating show. Keep an eye out for this in the future because there are certainly artists out there now who would compliment this style on stage.
For example, fans of the genre might have also heard Mr Key and Greenwood Sharps, as the style is quite similar. Whether just coincidence or perhaps a new venture for the label, this feels like fresh ground for the genre which, though burgeoning in some parts of the country, has had room to grow for a while. And of course it’s good to be supportive of innovative artists on our home turf, but even more so when they are making thoughtful music like this which can only the product of diligence to the craft rather than just another iteration of the same trend radio 1 is playing.
Tracks like ‘Many Made One’ which closes the album balance the tone with uplifting instrumentals, almost like a reminder that there is more than just malice behind the music and so it feels like it was made by someone with a real understanding of how to use music to engage with people emotionally.
There are so many things which set this album apart, perhaps most obvious among them is that personal and introspective aspect which means the listener has a certain amount of leg work to do in order to enjoy it on a deeper level. That is not to say the music isn’t immediately accessible or easy to enjoy, but just that with some commitment and a little investment the album may manifest something more than everyday hip hop has to offer.