Egyptian Hip Hop - Good Don't Sleep
If you aren't upset for the poor birds in that recent oil spill, if you aren't mourning the deadpan comic genius of Leslie Nielsen, and if you aren't upset for the drunk punter on sky news that isn't particularly fond of Iceland, then you better get your head looked at, because we're back in 2010. A year where a promising young band known as Egyptian Hip Hop are making it onto all the cool blogs and promising new music articles after the release of their progressive synth pop EP, Reptiles Grew Wings. We're in this mindset, because back in 2012, it's been two years since this kerfuffle, and the floppy haired Mancunians have barely uttered a peep.
That was of course until the group dropped an announcement for their debut album, and released a new single, 'SYH', earlier in the year. The track showed something darker and grimier than anything from their EP, and displayed a remarkably quick period of growing up for the band, relighting the hype torch to an extent.
If the question is if the band can deliver on the promise of this single, then the response is a vague shrug rather than a resounding 'yes'. The group hardly go for a jolting start with the first two tracks on Good Don't Sleep, although the mellow beat of 'Tobago' and the anticipation felt in 'White Falls' are solid moments. In the latter track, you can almost trip over the abandoned, rust caked bumper cars as the dull, almost muted fairground keyboard whispers, giving way to a thumping drum beat and growling bass.
'Alalon' is nice too; it plods a little, but the pacing and the atmospheric noises are not too dissimilar to the sounds heard on the Groundislava album, Feel Me. In many ways Egyptian Hip Hop bear many resemblances to Mr Jasper Patterson, but differ with their more progressive nature.
But unfortunately, being progressive doesn't necessarily mean getting too adventurous either. The pan is always left simmering, and rarely do the group rise above a dreamy and mellow plain of thinking. Strong song writing is what the band's debut album needed, and instead it gets a dose of boring, lo-fi indie pop that was drilled into our skulls throughout 2011. 'Snake Lane West' is the worst offender for this. Even the name itself sounds like filler and the musical moments sum up the worst parts of Good Don't Sleep. The drumbeat is dull and uninspired, and the sighing, reverb laden vocals just seem to forget why they were there in the first place. The track also shows possible dream-pop influences, which is appropriate saying as how it sends the listener to sleep.
The album's strong points lie in the production. When the bass weaves in and out of everything else, with a clear, flowing ring that locks in with the steady drum beat, it creates a strong pillar for the tracks. When the bass steps away from the limelight, the music suffers and becomes a floating bore.
When you reach 'SYH', there's a clear contrast to everything else. The strong production flexes its muscles once again, meandering between a murky, bass driven swamp of sounds, and an energetic wave of synth goodness. But as strong as this track is, it's almost a depressing listen compared to the weak tracks which make up the bulk of the album.
The murky, mysterious moments in the album are all great, like the sharp buzzing in the intro for 'One-Eyed King' and the eerie, tinkly keyboard at the end of 'Snake Lane West'. But ultimately, quirks are not nearly enough to save this disappointing debut.
Purchase and listen
If you aren't upset for the poor birds in that recent oil spill, if you aren't mourning the deadpan comic genius of Leslie Nielsen, and if you aren't upset for the drunk punter on sky news that isn't particularly fond of Iceland, then you better get your head looked at, because we're back in 2010. [read more]
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