slowthai
UGLY


4.6
superb

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
March 5th, 2023 | 268 replies


Release Date: 03/03/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Life ain't always empty.

slowthai has always been a difficult artist to love. His shaky, warbly vocal delivery, like a wolf snarling in the second before it bites; the borderline contrarian dedication to shock value and aggressive tonal disparity in his lyrics; the tendency to stick an entire foot in his mouth in almost every public appearance like an Andy Kaufman bit. Maybe it's by design and maybe not - there's something to be said for the fact that, to approach slowthai on his own terms, you need to be on the outside of it all, riding that line of discomfort to a destination on the fringes of society, where the fluorescent lights flicker so they tell tales by a cigarette's light in the freezing cold.

This has never been more true than on UGLY, the most uncomfortable album from a major hip-hop name since By the Time I Get to Phoenix. Much like that album, UGLY externalises a series of truly nasty personal demons using the space where rap and post-punk collide as its staging grounds. slowthai engages the help of Windmill scene luminary Dan Carey to draw this poison out of his wounds, coming into orbit with names like Fontaines D.C., Taylor Skye, and on an absolutely devastating discography highlight, unsung talent Ethan P. Flynn, penning a spiritual sequel to previous classic "feel away" with James Blake.

The listener is not in for an easy ride here, being subjected to malfunctioning electronic whirrs, a rambling therapy recounting and a disturbing re-enactment of a panic attack within the first five minutes of the album. Even when covering familiar ground, such as on the punky "Wotz Funny" and hip-hop throwback "Fuck it Puppet", the rapper's half-mumbled stories feel rawer and more caustic than ever before, miles away from the lopsided sense of humour that peeked its head out on early successes "T N Biscuits" or "Drug Dealer". By album's end slowthai is screaming over a genuinely beautiful backdrop on "Tourniquet", a shattering listen which is nonetheless one of the most incredible songs of the year. This isn't some wanderlust rapper lightly dipping a toe into post-punk to test out a new fanbase. UGLY is a headlong tumble into deep waters, careening sharply off the edges of decency and screaming out for meaning as it goes, arse over teakettle into the unknown. Follow it down if you want, just untie that rope around your waist before you do: this is the kind of fall you take at terminal velocity or not at all.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2023


47640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

listen to this



https://slowthai.bandcamp.com/album/ugly

Mort.
March 5th 2023


25134 Comments


you dont mention eez british a single time, bad and lazy review

markjamie
March 5th 2023


716 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You are bang on with this review; it's not an easy listen - but it is an exciting, urgent and powerful one. Biggest surprise of the year so far for me.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2023


47640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

mortimus prime i assumed the mention of the title "Wotz Funny" covered that base but my apologies, mortimus prime

PotsyTater
March 5th 2023


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Rowan thoughts on Andor?

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2023


47640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

baller af show best Star Wars content since the last Star Wars content that didn't suck

PotsyTater
March 5th 2023


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I just watched the first episode and the first bit gave more bladerunner than it did Star Wars and I really dug that. Then it settled into a groove that was still Star Wars but not Disney neutered. Such a better tone than….. literally everything else Disney has done with the property. I hope it holds up.



Enjoyed that first ep a lot more than the first ep of the new season of mando

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2023


47640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

oh dude as a mando defender, that new episode sucked shit. 20 minutes of recapping the boba show because they walked back Grogu's ending in a spinoff show on some weak shit, and the only thing i remember from the rest is Swamp Thing cameo and Bo Katan lounging around in a castle giving out information like an NPC



think Andor actually having great dialogue, acting, directing, using real sets etc has really made it obvious how much the other live action shows kinda suck. some of the best tv of last year straight up

PotsyTater
March 5th 2023


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

maybe one day mando will find the main quest



"think Andor actually having great dialogue, acting, directing, using real sets etc has really made it obvious how much the other live action shows kinda suck. some of the best tv of last year straight up"



really happy to hear this. i enjoyed the first episode so much i was worried it was too good to be true and the rest of the season would be downhill..

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2023


47640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

nah man it's gonna get even better from there. excited to hear your thoughts on The Eye, One Way Out and the finale cos those are straight up some of the best Star War ever if not just the best imo



what's funny is I assumed Din actually going to Mandalore and ending this dumbass cult storyline (was fun at the start but just exhausting now) would be the main quest of the show and end it. but seems clear now they're just gonna milk it for years and years and artificially force ways to keep Grogu around instead of just letting it end naturally and ugh



such a bummer lmao, Pedro deserves better. maybe the Ahsoka show will be good

PotsyTater
March 5th 2023


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah it’s a shame it feels like mando is just being delegated to being a vessel for fan service doesn’t it? I like how disconnected Andor feels from obligatory world building. If we’ve learned anything from disneys take over of marvel and Disney is that too much of that shit really pollutes each entries ability to have a true individual identity

Purpl3Spartan
March 5th 2023


8624 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I appreciate what he’s trying to do here but it just ain’t working for me unfortunately



Both revs for this are quite nice though

DoofDoof
March 5th 2023


15096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It’s weird half the album sounds exactly like Jamie T and in the same breath people are saying how hard hitting this is



Just funny, but this is winning me over, maybe more a 3 down the line but 3.5 for now

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2023


47640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

lol zak getting really mad not everyone is a sucker for that milquetoast vanilla ass geography teacher core new Gorillaz I see. pack it in you child



and ye pots Disney giving Tony Gilroy free reign to do whatever he wanted on Andor is the most impressive thing they've done in years

zakalwe
March 5th 2023


38919 Comments


Geography teacher core lol

DoofDoof
March 5th 2023


15096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

please map the topography of cracker island go

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2023


3032 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Review good album good life good eat it up team

DocSportello
March 5th 2023


3376 Comments


cracker island once shared maritime boundaries with a great number of identifiable states but these eroded as it became more obvious that it is not plunderphonics genre, as such the exact location of cracker island literally cannot be named

zakalwe
March 5th 2023


38919 Comments


Coastal erosion of the cynical bastard in me

PotsyTater
March 5th 2023


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ngl I kinda just thought zak obligatorily simped over everything that came from his great nation



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