Mura Masa - 'R.Y.C' Album Review
Mura Masa’s albums are slowly becoming an impressive list of collaborations with sought after artists, to which his latest album is no exception. To some extent, Mura Masa has become a common thread between up and coming artists, leading keen ears towards exciting new music. To a novice, R.Y.C does not sound like a thoughtfully constructed album, but a farrago of bands and artists that have found themselves basking in the limelight over the past couple of years. However, between the tracks including the likes of Georgia and Clairo, there is more worth uncovering.
While many of the collaborations on this album have seen some commercial success as singles, Mura Masa teaming up with Tirzah to create the lowkey ‘Today’ adds a slightly more off-beat and unorthodox sound. Tirzah’s earthy vocals, the hard bass on the chorus and unsettled vibe of the track feels like the perfect palette cleanser before heading straight into ‘Live Like We Are Dancing’.
Considering the one-dimensional nature of her sound, the drums being the core focus with a heavy Chicago House influence, I wonder whether Georgia has peaked. ‘Live Like We Are Dancing’ feels light and inconsequential, much to the point that it feels flat and commonplace due to the empty lyricism and aimless repetition. Considering the banging ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again’ featuring Clairo also appears on R.Y.C, which is another pop techno number, it makes its lack of impact more noticeable.
Slowthai has been a welcome novelty to the British music scene. His ability to bring humour to issues that are often talked of with a stern face is a breath of fresh punkish air that we have been gasping for. ‘Deal Wiv It’ is a little bit cheeky, a dash naughty but ultimately fun. Along with that addictive hook, it has to be the stand-out track of the album.
‘Teenage Headache Dreams’ featuring the delicate and soaring vocals of Ellie Rowsell,lead vocalist of Wolf Alice, is not the only hallmark of the Mercury award winning band. As what starts off as slow, jolting number builds to cacophony of cymbals, heavy bass and guitar with Rowsell’s vocals rising effortlessly as she echoes "teenage headache dream". With the occasional accompanying vocals and subtle introduction of a techno beat, Mura Masa’s soft influence makes the track feel complete.
While most of Mura Masa’s solo tracks fade into the background compared to the collaborations, ‘In My Mind’ is able to keep up. With a hint of trance and the use of the vocoder, Mura Masa creates an abstract, transcendent piece that also calls attention to his vocal range.
Considering much of this article has been relating to the artists that have featured on this album, Mura Masa’s transition towards a producing role feels like it has come full circle. His ability to keep the integrity of the collaborating artists sound shows his versatility and eclectic influence. However, perhaps I am being puritanical in not enjoying the lack of cohesion between the tracks but while many of them can stand proud as singles, it doesn’t feel like listening to an album. There are some gems yet fails to impress as an album.