Review Summary: Redactor
On Wicca Phase Springs Eternal’s last project, Spider Web
, the Gothboiclique founder spun a tale of isolation, detailing the futile death throes of a tumultous relationship, along with its surrounding rituals. Brennan Savage, on the other hand, mourned the loss of Lil Peep, imitating his childhood friend’s penchant for emo worship and overbearing choruses. Given Nedarb Nagrom (see: Braden Morgan)’s track record, a Gus feature wouldn’t have been all that surprising were he still alive. In his place, however, a long list of friends and contemporaries – a diverse crew of over two dozen featured artists. That Amity
feels more like an album, then, and less like a compilation, is nothing short of a miracle. Or, it seems, the product of an immense amount of talent.
Over the course of the project’s fourteen tracks, a number of boxes are checked. Opener ‘Home on Time’, for example, weds trap, emo, and – to a lesser extent – gothic music with sufficient ease. “This is not me reaching, I’m not overthinking,” the aforementioned Wicca Phase croons, capitalising on the same muted themes, the same melodramatic drawls that characterise the better part of his own work. Artists of a similar vein make appearances throughout the album, in particular toward the beginning and end of the album. A number of sordid bangers, on the other hand, infect the album’s midsection. On ‘Triflin’’, sleeze-trappers Lil House Phone and Father spit over shifting bass rumbles and various porn samples. Or, I suspect, ad libs from collaborator Bootychaaain whose name speaks for itself. Later, on ‘Freak Show’, this last artists delivers some of the album’s best verses, a sexed-up collection of zoned-the-fuck-out, albeit well-structured freak outs.
Of course, the number of talented artists on Amity
predispose it to a certain level of success. Given its sonic and thematic disparities, however, to have left the collection of tracks to its own devices would’ve been detrimental to both its cohesion and, in turn, its potency. Were it not a Nedarb album, that is, for the producer’s talents are two-(or, perhaps, three)-fold. On an individual level, each of the album’s instrumentals cater to each of the album’s artists. Each, of course, has that characteristic “Nedarb” sound. Just how versatile that sound is, though, is nothing to be understated. With co-producer Yawns, Nedarb crafts an ethereal nightmare on highlight ‘Head Over Heels’. Building atop simple, no less effective piano touches and gorgeous woodwind (perhaps flute) sussurations, Nedarb produces a lethargic emo-trap anthem, painting pictures of clubs in slow motion. The instrumental is fitting for the GBC, Misery Club members who feature on it. Likewise, the mid-album bangers boast greater variation, as well as a considerable bass boost and an emphasis on the use of samples. To be sure, Nedarb understands his artists as well as he does his audiences.
The album is, as such, structured so as to bring closure to its conflicts. If nothing else, its thread is friendship – or, at least, the spirit of collaboration. Its thread is, of course, Nedarb. Its shift from soft-spoken crooning to all-out bangers is as seamless as one could hope. An interlude featuring Alice Glass bridges the album back toward an emphasis on the emo, and once more toward hip hop at the album’s close. A KirbLaGoop feature graces the album’s penultimate track, and the closer ‘Babygangsoldiers’ is as silly as its title suggests – an ostensibly freestyled banger of incomprehensible mumbles that has less variation in its six minutes than the shortest tracks do in their two. It’s fun as heck and brings to a close an album that, in spite of its seriousness, has a relatively simple core. Not one of doom and gloom, as I first suspected. But of harmony and cohesion. Of amity, not enmity.