Kentish Town wordsmiths Othasoul (Louis VI and Dozer Carter) have been in the game for more than a minute now, first making waves in 2013 with their excellent debut single ‘Drain Pipes’. They upped the levels again with ‘The Remedy’ two years later, a stellar project which featured the likes of Poppy Ajudha and Tom Misch.
Their return as a duo after a 4 year hiatus, in the shape of an 8-track EP showcases further artistic growth. ‘Return of the Soul’ is a masterclass in melody, with immaculately textured vibes setting the stage for Louis and Dozer’s distinctive flows. Don’t be fooled by the nonchalant, smoked-out energy though; thematically, Othasoul’s candid London-lensed storytelling speaks to self-love and survival in an increasingly hostile environment.
Sonically, the project showcases an impressive musicality, fusing electronic grooves with funk, soul and hip-hop to create forward-thinking soundscapes. It’d be a mistake to label Othasoul’s style as ‘Old School’ though. Of course, the past influences everything we do, but there’s layers upon layers to their work on ‘Return of the Soul’ which are rooted very much in the here and now.
The project’s sole guest feature comes from TINYMAN on the boom-bap heavy ‘Fire in the Dark’ and it is straight flames. As Boris and Co. continue to disregard Black lives on our cold island, he raps “The government be tellin’ us to wear these masks underground, but will they listen if we say we can’t breathe?”
The standout cut is lead-single ‘That Mood’. Warm synths and a talk-box effect on the hook gives the track a sun-kissed, West Coast rap energy. While the mood is ultimately uplifting, Louis VI’s bars offer important social commentary too, “My ends getting worse it’s perverse, see a higher percentage of the victims on curbs, this country feels cursed, with leaders that are too cheating to listen to our words.”