Far from the works of The King Blues, front-man Itch puts all his aggression and charisma into this massive “fuck you” of a record. It’s no nonsense, a blend of reggae, hip hop, dubstep, punk and true passion in his second solo EP; spelling out big things for him as a solo artist in the future.
Opening track Dispatch kicks off with bleak and depressing images of life in modern-day Britain, accompanied by a gradual climax of spine-tingling whooshes and bangs of sound effects, like fireworks in your brain; a far cry from the punk-lite mix of the King Blues. The urban, angsty tones of this track make the impact of the inner message behind the lyrics hit home harder. The sound is nasty, as are the lyrics.
In total contrast, second song and personal favourite of mine Like I’m Drugs adds a trance element to this EP. It introduces a second, female, vocalist to the mix with a soft, bittersweet voice contrasting to Itch AKA Johnny Fox’ harsh vocals. The melody created within this song makes the track flow nicely, you tap your feet and nod your head without even noticing, like I’m doing as I’m writing this and smiled as I realised this. Soul has a similar feel to this, starting with a repetitive, spliced beginning before taking a slightly uneasy edge with un-nerving tinkling and the twang of a single guitar string, working beautifully with the violent imagery created by Itch. The only respite within this track is a brief interlude of acoustic guitar before a big, atmospheric finish; it’s almost as if this track takes you on a journey.
Rounding off the EP, Gutter Stars has a similar feel to Diplomat with edgy vocals delivered slightly faster, with crunching guitar beats, quickly transforming to atmospheric synth adding an element of doom almost.
This release is like a pick-n-mix bag of music. It has it all, showing various styles of music with lyrics that push the boundaries of what we choose, or are told to believe. In some areas it appears to have too much going on creating the effect of it just being “noise”, but overall this is a very strong release and I look forward to more in the future.