Revival Season – The Golden Age Of Self-Snitching

An accomplished debut with complex yet elegant genre-fluidity...

Living in a post-genre world has its ups and downs. The downside being that traditional subcultures are increasingly a thing of the past, left in the rearview mirror of history along with all their influence on fashion, politics and wider society. The plus side is that we’re now hearing sonic fusions which could never have existed in times of more rigid musical and cultural divisions. Pop music is stranger than ever, heavy music is infused with electronica, while rap, long among the most forward-thinking genres, has splintered into infinite intriguing permutations.

Revival Season are a product of this current milieu. The Atlanta duo make truly genre-busting music, layering Brandon “Bez” Evans’s versatile raps atop producer Jonah Swilley’s unpredictable combination of rock, funk and electronica. Strands of deconstructive but accessible forefathers like Beastie Boys and Gnarls Barkley can be detected in the commanding vitality of Revival Season’s brilliantly-named debut ‘The Golden Age Of Self-Snitching’. However, their hyperactive blend of rap-rock (to give it a very reductive genre tag) feels consistently potent and fresh. Their debut record, released via the increasingly-genre-fluid Heavenly Recordings is a relentlessly vibrant statement of intent, possessing a colourful vigour that belongs to this exciting duo alone.

Even if everything else about it was deemed a failure, Evans and Swilley’s energy and zest would see the most hard-to-please of listeners through the 14 tracks of ‘The Golden Age Of Self-Snitching’. There’s simply not a dull track on here, highlighted by several particularly ferocious early cuts. ‘The Path’ is rapid-fire highlight, a bass-driven techno-rock rager that begs to be witnessed in a live capacity. Follow-up ‘Message In A Bottle’ is similarly heavy, imagining Denzel Curry guesting on an Yves Tumor track. The album’s fusion of visceral bass and synths, along with a combination of live drums and drum machines (it’s sometimes indistinguishable between the two) reaps endlessly punchy rewards, as equally so on calmer cuts like the reggae-inflected ‘Propaganda’ as the highest-energy bangers.

Bez’s vocal performance adroitly matches the production’s breathless zeal. His voice sounds a bit like a cross between El-P and Zach De La Rocha, with plenty of southern inflections woven in. He makes liberal use of distinctly southern triplets and rapid-fire rhythms, such as on ‘The Path’ where nimble stabs of bass sync up with his flow to exhilarating effect. In terms of his lyrical perspective, Bez is wise and conscious, though grounded. ‘Chop’ feels like the key track. With a steely lack of sentimentality, its brilliant second verse analyses the exploitation of young Black rappers, drawing out multiple metaphors from the album’s memorable title.

An endlessly fun album with plenty on its mind, ‘The Golden Age Of Self-Snitching’ is an accomplished debut whose complex genre-fluidity is so elegant you’ll barely notice it. In fact, it’ll likely set your pulse racing too fast to think about it anyway.

8/10

Words: Tom Morgan

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