Today I have decided to put together a brief review of Skream's new LP, Outside the Box. Please forgive me for the rather small review, I am meant to be revising for a resit next week! I hope you agree with my opinions, but if you don't, please give your reasons in the comments box at the bottom.
The album itself comes out this Monday, the 9th August, on Tempa Recordings. It is a fantastic LP, taking in many different styles and genres on it's way. As I am trying to keep it brief, I have just given a small review of each individual track.
Despite having no discernible beat to it, the popping synths and mountains of reverb make this an emotional introduction.
8 Bit Baby (featuring Murs)
Nice light production, but is really let down by the vocals.
“Guess who came through the front door bangin//
one leg up on the speaker nuts hangin... danglin.”
Err.. I guess it is quite fitting that the weak point of the whole album is a guest appearance.
Real grower. On first listen appears immature and underdeveloped. When given further attention, however, you see past the incessant vocals and begin to admire the ebbs and flows of the track. Some old school Nintendo sounding keys are subtly brilliant as well
Where You Should Be (featuring Sam Frank)
My personal favourite track. Great sub bass punches every 4 bars aide the tracks introduction before the vocoded voice of Sam Frank punctures the beautiful instrumental. Purple vibes run throughout, counter acted by some pretty deep vocals, the track has the emotion and epic nature to push it beyond anything else on the LP.
How Real (featuring Freckles)
Again some vocoded vocals. Not as great as the previous track, but still huge. The crashing cymbals transport the track along it's duration, with some key synths and subs joining in to herald each passing chorus. The chopped vocals on the chorus are superb as well.
Fields of Emotion
A trade mark Skream dancefloor smash. Quite simple production is used to great effect, minimal percussion that take a back step for the synths and heavy stabs of 'wobble bass.' Just wait for the final drop, the reverbed wobbles are just fantastic.
I Love The Way
The most 'commercial' track on the record, to say it reminds of Labrinth's production could be taken as a positive or negative. An un-attributed vocal, I presume a sample, is used to great effect in 'I Love the Way'. Some brooding synths and a nice breakbeat bring the track along to an epic dnb style crescendo that is well worth the wait.
Listenin’ To The Records On My Wall
We all know this track, the Amen loops and great 'Midnight Request Line' style delays. It's a great club track that would get almost any crowd going.
The hardest track on the record. Constant metallic 'wobbles' accompanied by hard hitting drum patterns force the track on. Subtle alterations in chord and tempo keep you guessing and keep you interested.
At 85 BPM, this is another Autonomic style production, similar to Reflections. The track begins some different and intriguing drum patterns joined by rumbling sub bass before at around 90 seconds a great swirling synth track and slight 'wobbles' slide in to create a great concoction of noise that Skream does very well to handle.
Finally (featuring La Roux)
Skream received quite heavy flak from other blogs for this track when it leaked recently, I disagree. In my opinion the vocals fit superbly with the track. Her high pitched calls fit very nicely with Skream's forboding and quite stripped production.
Reflections (featuring D:Bridge & Instra:Mental)
As with Acacia Avenue (No.3 on our Tracks of the Year so far), Skream brings in D:Bridge and Instra:Mental to help with the production. Some fantastic breakdowns and interesting drum patterns as usual from the Autonomic crew.
A Song For Lenny
Very similar to the opening track, with some nice keys and strings, again a very emotional track. Ties in with Perforated to create what I'd call the logical end of the album...
The Epic Last Song
Hearing this track I had the impression that A Song for Lenny was originally the conclusion to the record, but I guess Skream opted to end with an upbeat banger. I kept that belief as the track rattles along, appearing to go nowhere until around the 2:30 mark it breaks down and begins a build up to an epic and fitting finale to the record.