Review Summary: "Welcome to the manifesto of a man who stood the test of time."
The Horrorshow consists of producer Adit and vocalist Solo, who were both attending Fort Street High School when they released their debut album entitled The Grey Space.
Showing lyrical maturity beyond their seventeen years of age, the album deals with all sorts of themes, from the duo coming to terms with their sudden success in their native Australian scene to worrying about doing something worthwhile in their lives before they’re pushing up daisies. The album is for the most part chilled out hip hop with a jazz influence that’s very reminiscent of Atmosphere's older material. The Grey Space
is relaxing gem that’s even more impressive considering how old Adit and Solo were when they made it.
The album’s eloquent and quaint instrumentation gives the record a very laid back vibe. The drumming, particularly the use of the cymbals, keeps a steady and resounding beat that supports Solo’s admittedly strong flow. The use of a diverse array of instruments help to give Horrorshow’s debut record a unique atmosphere on each separate track. “Waiting for the 5.04” has a jazzy lounge feel, with nicely played horns coming in to flesh out the song’s relaxing atmosphere. The next song has a completely different vibe, being more upbeat and confrontational. The looped harmonica on “The Party Life” is also an intriguing musical oddity that isn’t seen on many other tracks. It also meshes with the hushed harmonic backing vocals admirably. “The Note to Self (No. 81)” closes things off with a killer guitar solo, standing out as the record’s defining rock moment. The Grey Space is very ambitious musically, being able to dabble in/explore multiple genres. All musical flourishes found on the record are well thought out and implemented, no complaints here.
The lyrical content is very poignant, and not your standard drugs and hoes fare. “Dire Straits Pt.1” specifically hits close to home. “He’s just another lost soul who blocks out the world with his headphones”. Solo vividly describes his personal relationship problems and issues that are plaguing his young mind, and as a narrator he’s very sympathetic. Under the chipper veneer of this Australian teenager is the soul of a old man. He’s very appreciative of his newfound success and he’s raring for more fame and glory, but at the same time he’s questioning his worth and how to make the best of our limited time on earth. He tackles a variety of different subjects in his lyrics, and while we will never get the experience of being a professional rapper, he still somehow makes his personal experiences relatable. His rapping while solid is never that awe inspiring. Anyone could spit these lines with enough practice. Solo doesn’t create any complex rhythmic schemes that could make a song by itself. They have to supported by a sick beat to be worthwhile. The spoken word sections of the album while at times lewd have oddly enough a classic film noir vibe, especially with the swelling horns on “The Party Life”
None of The Grey Space
would work if each aspect of this greatly constructed record didn’t fit together just right. Nothing feels out of place, each adding to its jazzy and elegant atmosphere. Solo’s intelligent lyrics make all the difference when his rapping style is so ordinary, but it at least it complements the chilled out instrumentation. The Grey Space
is a stunner of a hip hop record filled with unbridled optimism. If you ever feel like relaxing after a long and tedious day of work give The Grey Space
a spin. It’s a sure fire way to brighten up your day.