There's always an immense amount of pressure surrounding the release of a debut album. To say it can make or break someone's career is an understatement.
That should put Skinny Pelembe on a good course, however, as his first album, Dreaming is Dead Now, brings a trippy blend of hip-hop, folk and electronic music together with ease.
A brilliant blend of mellow sounds intertwine to form an album that feels like a chilled drive to escape the stress of life.
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Skinny Pelembe: Dreaming is Dead Now
Pelembe's debut album pulls together elements from all over to create a unique sound that makes Dreaming is Dead Now a fascinating first album for the South African-born British artist.
The album opens with 'Gonna Buy a Car Today' and immediately it sounds like a blend of Childish Gambino and more prominently D'Angelo's Unshaken from the Red Dead Redemption 2 soundtrack.
It's an easy listen that emanates the relaxed feel of the album as a whole but hints at darker twists to follow with the line "left the door unlocked today and came back after dark."
There's an underlying stress behind Dreaming is Dead Now. While the album is a relaxed listen, for the most part, there are sections of several songs where the sound builds up to an indecipherable crescendo, reminiscent of The Beatles' 'A Day in the Life', as if the noises of life are just getting too much for Pelembe, with the only solution being to take a deep breath.
The line "step back, give him air" at the end of 'No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish', summing that up perfectly.
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The album's journey continues on, offering up mellow and trippy beats, slowly eradicating the stress heard in the earlier songs.
One of the highlights along the way being the titular 'Dreaming is Dead Now' but the whole thing takes a turn after the album's high-point 'My Love is Burning, Down' which is just a feast of brilliant, joyous music composition.
But that all changes with the opening pulses of 'Ten Four, Good Friend'. After the album spends its time on a relaxed drive on a summer's evening, 'Ten Four, Good Friend' feels like a suckerpunch to the gut after you've arrived home to a terrible sight. Straight away the stress is back, joined this time by a rage unheard of during the album's opening few numbers.
Dreaming is Dead Now's dramatic and sinister twist is accompanied by an almost operatic 'Laxmi Flying' which sounds like it's been ripped straight from a funeral scene in a film, with mournful voices filling the space where the mellow beats have now subsided.
The journey we take through Dreaming is Dead Now is made complete with 'Blood Relations' which, amongst a mesh of deep poetry and waving synth sounds, just about hints at a return to the album's earlier euphoria.
Without doubt, this is an album that just sweeps you off onto a journey and is best enjoyed if you just let it carry you along it's meandering twists, turns and bumps in the road.
Skinny Pelembe has slid his way onto the scene with a noteworthy first album that pours several styles and inspirations into a giant melting-pot to create something uniquely excellent.
Skinny Pelembe: Dreaming is Dead Now review - 8/10
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