Another immediately recognisable hit of identity from Comatose Red Ivy – this project from earlier in the year sees a more comfortable pop-dance soundscape lead us into a four-chord pattern that feels emotive and calm; in contrast with the angst and loneliness of the vocals.
The self-deprecation of the raps is boldly poignant from the outset, and in the case of the opening track, the relevancy and the impact of Covid on an already strained mind pours through in a manner that again seems to lean back and forth between humour and genuine dismay.
The piano-led simplicity continues from Ghost Man Fool through No Coming Back. As expected with the last project, these are indeed freestyles – unedited explosions of thought, taking a theme and a feeling and running with it in a fearless way. You kind of get to experience an emotive series of soundtracks alongside a strangely relatable, angry yet honest podcast or monologue. It’s a unique thing, inspiring a sense of freedom of expression and emotion.
This goes for the whole project, the theme consistently being that of the fool or the joke at the centre of the struggle. The rap game comes to light, along with personal drive, failure, pain, modern life, tech, character faults.
Comedic twinges emerge well throughout a contemporary hip-hop-kissed CROOKED FOOT FOOLS, within which the central mood makes sense as this uncertain yet reflective vocalist plays around with the moment. Perhaps things come to light that would be edited out ordinarily, but such is improvisation – the act of freestyling without further consideration. Sometimes lines are crossed, mistakes are made, in life and in conversation.
This process for Red Ivy feels partly just for fun, and partly therapeutic on a deeper, more genuine level. Speedin’ DEMON takes this juxtaposition a little further, the voice becoming tired, the imagery growing more imaginative or conceptually delusional in an intriguing, theme-based way. The mind wanders, we all experience it ourselves, but it’s fascinating to listen to someone else’s and consider the progression from one thought to the next.
GHOST MAN Jokin’ wraps things up with a crisp and stand-out pop-punk soundscape and weight that overpowers the now even more tired voice. There’s insight in between the seemingly arbitrary ramblings. ‘It was just a dream. It was just a dream… My life is a royal fucking nightmare… Everybody dying on me but treating me like I’m dead.’
This closing track is perhaps the most revealing of all, in terms of its reflective, poetic in-between moments that bulk out an otherwise outward attempt to pretend everything’s OK. The closer you listen, the more truth you stumble upon.
Check out Comatose Red Ivy on Instagram.