There’s a certain heaviness in the air right now. From the migrant crisis to political chaos, war in Syria to terrorism on the streets of Europe, it feels as though the temperature chilled some time back and has never really recovered.
Ghostpoet is far from immune to this. Obaro Ejimiwe has always represented the world around him, but striking, heavyweight new album ‘Dark Days + Canapés’ finds the artist emerging from ambiguity to nail the visceral contradictions of life in the UK right now.
Opening vignette ‘One More Sip’ is a stark introduction: musically heavy, the subtle arrangement drives a real intensity through just 90 seconds of music.
‘Trouble + Me’ is a ruminative, reflective performance, Ghostpoet’s tumbling lyricism offset by an arrangement that reflects the darker, much more fuller sound of the album as a whole.
Producer Leo Abrahams undoubtedly shares many of the lyricists concerns, with both music and wordplay connecting on a near telepathic level to explore the open sores of life right now.
It’s a dark record, but one shot through with an awareness of common humanity. ‘(We’re) Dominoes’ pleads for release, while ‘Dopamine If A Do’ finds the world self-dosing to escape the darkness of the everyday.
Musically, ‘Woe Is Meee’ reflects ‘Mezzanine’ era Massive Attack or those first two Portishead records, but the whispered lyrics match the blackest of humour to this soulful frame. ‘Freakshow’ is rooted in that funky, ever-evolving bass line, before Ghostpoet warns: “It’s a nightmare, I’m screaming out…”
A fantastically uniformed piece, ‘Dark Days + Canapés’ boasts a rare sense of unity, the aural palette bringing together hugely disparate elements to conjure something of real impact. Lead single ‘Immigrant Boogie’ remains an extraordinary tour de force, a plea for life, for humanity, as it tells the story of a doomed migrant family battling against the tide.
The rising flood of music surges out of the speakers, Obaro’s voice rushing in and out, battling to make itself heard. Remarkably succinct – it’s a classic 2:40 single – it’s a sign that Ghostpoet is willing to tackle uncomfortable truths head on in this fantastic new album.
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