Slowthai: TYRON (Method/AWGE/Interscope) - review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, September 26th, 2021  

Slowthai

TYRON

Method/AWGE/Interscope

Feb 17, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Two years on from his scene-stealing debut album Nothing Great About Britain, the Northampton, England native has returned with a project of surprising depth but also a frustrating lack of focus. A double album in structure if not in length, TYRON—an album title taken from slowthai’s real name Tyron Kaymone Frampton—aims to show two very different sides to the person behind the moniker. The all capitalized titles of the first half are offset against their introspective, lowercase counterparts that make up side B. It’s a concept that nobody will struggle with, but it also isn’t exactly subtle or setting us up for revelations of any great nuance.

This lack of self-awareness is presented most openly across the album’s opening couplet of tracks. “45 SMOKE” borrows so much influence from his stateside contemporaries that slowthai’s voice, which felt so vibrant and honest on his previous outing, gets lost amidst ticking beats and bumbling bass. On the infuriating “CANCELLED,” Frampton boasts about his career achievements to date with a sense of defiance uniquely reserved for those who decry cancel culture yet routinely profit from it. The tone-deaf reaction to his being held to account for events including his horrible appearance at 2019’s NME awards, is a tawdry slog to get through.

Should you succeed in doing so, though, be prepared to be rewarded by a much more pleasant set of tracks to close out side A. It’s not accurate to say that anything here matches the best moments of his debut release, but tracks like “VEX” and “DEAD” do a decent enough job of righting the ship. We then descend into the more inward-looking phase of the album, which presents equally-fleeting high points but isn’t bogged down by the nauseating self-aggrandizing that overwhelms the record’s opening remarks. Indeed, by the time we get to the trio of “push,” “nhs,” and “feel away”—the latter of which featuring the production and vocal stylings from the ever-reliable James Blake—it feels as though slowthai is finally back in his groove, just in time for the record to come to a close. Do these tracks do enough to make the project a success? Not really. As, for all of their obvious quality and intricate attention to detail, there is no escaping the fact that this album feels clumsy and disjointed. It isn’t an abject failure but flirts with this possibility on too many occasions for it to be even mentioned in the same breath as slowthai’s previous studio effort. (www.slowthai.com)

Author rating: 5.5/10

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