Electric, eclectic and eccentric, slowthai shifts between Gothic societal resentment and tender philosophical musings on ‘TYRON’. The hotly anticipated follow up to his blistering debut ‘Nothing Great About Britain’, the versatility of the sophomore offering had been hinted at on the singles released in the run up to the record, but slowthai still managed to surprised me with the extent of the variety, which is perhaps the albums greatest strength.
Although a relatively short listen at 35 minutes, the album is split into two contrasting discs; not only visually (the first disc songs names are all uppercase and the latter disc are all lowercase) but also sonically and aesthetically. Taking influence from an assortment of different genres, flirting with trap, grime, punk and hip hop amongst others, thai chops and changes seamlessly; just as at home on the delicate, mellow ‘push’ as he is on the savage, ominous opener ’45 SMOKE’.
It is a testament to slowthai’s rise and talent that he secured several outstanding features from highly lauded artists. A diverse nest egg of craft and flair, the album features superb turns from superstar names like James Blake, A$AP ROCKY and Skepta. The album features a strong variety of beats; especially on the second disc with standout instrumentals such as the gorgeously sampled ‘i tried’ and the Brockampton-esque ‘nhs’
A record with a strong onus on mental health, the over arching themes of uncertainty and cynicism plague slowthai’s narration throughout. Even on the more hopeful and gentle tracks, we experience a tortured soul who struggles for acceptance and peace. Whether from the invisible online mob, their digital pitchforks sharpened with bottomless judgement, or his trouble past of addiction and violence, the artist seems desperate to escape the chains of reality. We grasp two definitive sides to slowthai’s character; the unstable, precarious and nefarious villain of ‘VEX’ and ‘MAZZA’, and the solemn, nervous and humanistic protagonist of ‘adhd’ and ‘feel away’. This chameleonic unpredictability coats excitement and mystery onto the albums narrative, as we ponder who slowthai really is, and if he truly knows himself.
slowthai is the classic anti-hero, the underdog, a Faustian enigma who often appears to fly too closely to the sun. That said, whether for its full-throttle energy or endearing personalism, I would highly recommend you delve into the deep fluidity of TYRON.