Review Summary: looks like daylight
It’s a bit of a shame that the Gravity Boys collective wasn’t present for yours truly’s coming-of-age, circa 2007. Swedish rapper Bladee’s sound bears a feeling of dissociation worsened by dark winter ambience and a nonchalant regard for drug abuse. Myself having grown in minus-forty-degree conditions, and the ensuing introspection coupled with a hefty reliance on Dexedrine (not exactly comparable to percs, but whatever), AvP
would have been welcomed. Either of the bookends could serve as anthems of seclusion for lonely minds run rampant. Opener “Still in Search of Sunshine” has a morning-like anthemic tone, juxtaposed with downcast lyrics like, “I still got my closed eyes / medicine with crushed ice / AvP, watch out it’s cold out / sometimes I can’t keep the ghosts out.
” It’s like cracking the blinds semi-hopefully, only to see pure black and rain spatters. Closer “Winter” showcases Whitearmor’s rich production, with lush pulses, achingly plucked strings, and tasteful builds-to-releases. He crafts a style that is both mentally boxed-in and physically expansive, serving as a perfect, frosty backdrop for Bladee and Thaiboy.
There’s plenty of stylistic variety, without sacrificing the general atmosphere. Further, there’s something really profound in the context of lines like, “Imma take over the whole world
,” when recited by Thaiboy, if we consider the themes of dissociation. There’s something poignant about aspiring to control something with which you’re knowingly doomed to disconnect. Throughout AvP
, this disconnect takes multiple forms. On “1million”, money is treated like a simulacrum for happiness (and, perhaps it references a previous Thaiboy x Bladee cut, “I’m Lost”, wherein the duo crave success most when they’re at their poorest). “Area 51” is a clever anti-hype, as Bladee announces, “I’m in your areaaaa / Area 51
,” pairing cool braggadocio with freakish self-deprecation. There’s some fan service as well, with references to the evasive Rainworld
project and Thaiboy’s “Goon” moniker (dating back to 2013(")). Some listeners might accuse AvP
of leaning too heavily on throwbacks to prior material, and being derivative of Eversince
and the like; but, AvP
is a vital addition, like appended chapters in an autobiography. Set to Whitearmor’s post-industrial-tinged production, Bladee and Thaiboy Digital simulate a malign cabin fever - one that’s created by mental confines, and doesn’t get any better when you step outside.