Earleybird returns this year with his quickly recognizable vocal style and lyricism, though an admittedly new musical outlook – helping give Lone Nut, Great Oak a refreshingly colourful feel.
More is a bold starting point, a heavily conceptual song that feeds on the central reference of more and subsequently pours image after idea relating to everything that our world and our existence is right now. It’s deep, intense, and immediately reaches out to connect with the parts of us that feel uncertain or that ponder life relentlessly. The music is lighter, retro even, piano and a hopeful, joyful distorted bass-line, a gentle beat – plus, Earleybird’s voice is easy going, he delivers these hits in a calm and inspiring way. The song goes on for four and a half minutes, never letting up on that central set-up of more this and more that. Absolutely worth listening to a couple of times before you even think about progressing through the project.
Lady Day follows and keeps that retro feel alive but leans in a slightly industrial, upbeat direction. Another rhythmic and quickly effective hook leads the way, then you get these brilliant verses – most of my heroes are dead draws you in from the offset, and the intensity continues to build throughout. The track is as chaotic as it is entertaining and provocative. Give me flowers while I’m alive is just one of many lines that help keep you captivated.
A hint of acoustic energy drives for the mellow song Brainwashed. Things get personal – intimate and honest story telling makes for a change to the vast and vague inclusivity of before. You get a little closer to the artist here, whilst also feeling welcomed by the moment. Beautiful music and a rhythmic rap flow make this notably entrancing.
Moonlight keeps creativity at the forefront of the musical journey and subsequently pours some beautifully uplifting and poetic lyrics into the process. Not that there’s any need to compare this with the past, but this feels like an even more impressive and thoughtful project than Earley’s previous offering. So it should be – hard work and passion fuse with talent to get the most artistic and interesting results. Earleybird has his own style and consistently pushes forward with that and with essential drive and intent – and this is still just the beginning.
Retro electronic vibes meander freely for Shopping Cart as another matter of fact story walks in unison with deeper, more metaphorical ideas. There’s a hint of quirkiness here but there’s also a relatable realness that’s easy to appreciate. Earmuffs follows and brings in a hint of world-music, forever adding eclecticism to the collection. That balance between the literal and the metaphorical is even stronger now. The Kids afterwards injects a layer of jazz and a quieter soundscape that feels partly hopeful, partly melancholy – in keeping with the changing mood of the lyrics. Again, a single listen isn’t really enough – these are the sort of hip hop tracks worth obsessing about for a while.
Let’s Fall In Love is an absolute highlight for its clever lyrical outlook and its powerful use of juxtaposition. A personal favourite – loaded with depth and relevant to just about everyone.
The sky is falling, bombs are dropping, people are dying – let’s fall in love.
God’s Music at the penultimate moment offers a hint of funk and colourful good vibes. Earleybird often kicks off with a hook, letting you know the drill from the offset but also keeping you interested and keen to see where those impressively intelligent verses will go this time. Nowhere on this album does this method disappoint.
Sang Syne is the final track and leads with more of that retro electronic energy and a sort of neo-classical wash of synths. It feels emotional, vocally and instrumentally. There’s a sense of weight, it’s a big finish – far more of a promise for the future than a final breath. There’s optimism again, intention, motivation, positivity – all the things we know and love Earleybird for. Lone Nut, Great Oak is a stunner, beautifully smart and designed to build bridges between all of us. As always, a total pleasure to write about.