Easy Life - 'Junk Food' EP Review
We are still yet to see a full length studio album from Leicester based Indie hip hop group Easy Life, but with some outstanding singles and mixtapes under their belt, they now sit with 1.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, which is a testament to the hectic past years gigging all over the UK amongst performances on Jools Holland and for the BBC. Early this year they were runners up in the ‘BBC’s Sound of 2020’ competition which included the likes of Yungblud, Squid, Joy Crookes, Easy Life collaborator Arlo Parks, and winner Celeste.
There isn’t all too much cohesion within the Junk Food EP, the tracks could be listened to in any order so we’ll start the review with the highlights. ‘Sangria’ is an absolutely outstanding track. The bassline is heavy, yet dreamy and partners beautifully with frontman Murray’s dejected and affected vocal style. The transition from the chorus into Arlo Parks’ verse in the last third of the track is a fantastic change of energy into an elegant, violin laden version of the instrumental, not to mention Parks’ outstanding, soul oozing vocal performance throughout. ‘Earth’ is another highlight, the song has a good flow and a catchy hook, it was released some time ago now but remains one of the group's strongest tracks to date. ‘Nice Guys’ is also a solid track with an 80’s funk style instrumental which is a nice diversion from Easy Life’s typical dreamy, lowkey instrumentals. Frontman Murray could draw comparisons to the late Mac Miller. Although his midlands accent shines through, contrasting to that of the Pittsburgh rapper, the low key, laid back tone and delivery are similar. When Easy Life are at their best, the hype surrounding them is understandable, Incredibly cool and catchy tunes that are accessible to pop, hip hop and indie fans. In tracks such as the ones mentioned above, Easy Life excel, providing a taste of what they are truly capable of.
Unfortunately for the Junk Food EP the other four tracks blend into obscurity, all following a similar formula with fairly surface level lyrical content, distorted and hazey indie hip hop instrumentals and Murray’s laid back bars on top. None of these tracks are bad, but equally for a band in this position, so close to a real breakthrough, this EP needed to show a little more of what their fans know they are capable of. All too often bands reach this stage, strong backing from the BBC and a growing and dedicated fan base, but without a strong album to cement and truly identify themselves, the risk of fizzling out grows. These four tracks just sound too similar to each other and to previous releases.
The next Easy Life project will arguably be their most important to date. With strong support and shed loads of ability it should be brilliant, even if this project lulled at times.