ALBUM REVIEW: Slowthai – UGLY
The build-up to slowthai’s third record has been perhaps the most exciting yet. Pairing up with legendary producer Dan Carey, slowthai boasts a new age punk sound – one that we hadn’t heard from him before.
Kicking off is arguably the biggest tune of the record Yum, a track about Tyron’s (slowthai) struggle with different types of addiction. Its industrial and electronic influences are blatant throughout the track, and the beats are so good.
“I won’t stop ‘til I’m in a coma, I took a blue pill and I lost composure.” Live, this will have crowds bouncing, especially during the chorus. The track breaks down with crashing and breaking sounds thudding around slowthai’s voice that are expertly produced, with the track ending as it started, with a therapy session. It’s a masterpiece.
Lead single Selfish is what got so many fans, including us, full of anticipation for this record. Its drumbeat is handcrafted for punk fans, and the gospel-meets-post-punk bridge is something to behold as he sings, “We get what we deserve, somehow, we never learn.”
You can tell just how strong Dan Carey’s influence is in this LP already.
Where the album slightly falters is during the slower unconventional track UGLY. We’re not quite sure what the thought process was behind that one, as slowthai spells ugly for four minutes over an ambient instrumental, which slightly misses the mark.
There’s a lot of experimentation in the LP. Sooner’s riff could be straight from The Jam’s The Gift, Wotz Funny is like an old Blur track, Never Again sounds straight out of a Loyle Carner record. All these different influences do work very well though, it has to be said.
Another highlight of UGLY is undoubtedly the second single, Feel Good. It does what it says on the tin. It’s as if ecstasy was a song, whilst also keeping a sinister feel about it as slowthai repeats “I feel so good”, almost as if he’s coming up, further backed up by “I feel so happy that it hurts deep in my insides.”
“Wanna watch the world burn, cus the world’s been burning me.” Fuck It Puppet takes influence from Kendrick Lemar, as slowthai goes back and forth with an unknown voice, implied that its the voice in his head. The line “I have schemes of frying pussios like they chicken wings” is a personal favourite.
Towards the back end of the LP, Falling is a snipped into slowthai’s frail state of mind, as he pulls no punches. Tourniquet is a ballad you would probably never expect to hear from him, although he still remains his frantic self despite the melodic ballad floating through the track until the instrumental starts to follow suit.
Closer, 25% Club, is the most melodic track of the record and has some stunning guitar work, and arguably shows slowthai finding his inner peace, with the final line of the record being “But I got some glue, so we can rebuild.” We suppose a leopard can’t completely change its spots.
Dan Carey and slowthai are one of the best combinations in the music industry right now. This album treats you to nearly 40 minutes of magic, and shows an artist truly realising his potential in what is undoubtedly his best work yet, and a definite early album of the year contender.
UGLY is a masterpiece.
Standout Tracks: Yum, Selfish, Feel Good
For Fans Of: Fontaines D.C., Kendrick Lamar, Loyle Carner
Written by: Joe Loughran