First Impressions: Drake, Flume And Kaytranada

Written By the interns on 04/12/2016

FirstImpressionsFirst Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick apart tracks by Flume, Kaytranada, Drake, Tegan & Sara, Lido and Pollari.

Wall Fuck

James: Starts out pretty heavy on the fuck, then Flume hits you with the wall busting bass and you remember - ‘Oh, yeah, that Flume guy is one of the best electronic artists in the world right now’ - and you’re vibing. Honestly though, these combinations of sounds shouldn’t, logically, be even remotely appealing or able to draw you in for three minutes. But Flume ties it all together to make something visceral, vaguely emotive, and awesome. How? Why? Wall Fuck if I know. 3.5

Sam: I hate the name, like really hate it. And I praise him for doing something experimental and different but I just don’t know if it really works as a song. There’s nothing that ties it together or makes these sounds relate to each other apart from that synth that comes in mid-way but then disappears. It all ends up sounding a bit abrasive. 2

Meshell:This is the kind of Flume I love. It’s not a party banger, it’s just a super well produced and interesting song. It begins off as kind of atonal and blossoms into this stunning melodic creature. I feel like this kind of music breeds creativity and so I am 100% in on this.   4

Alistair: At first I thought I had come across an illegally downloaded song from Limewire and that distorted repetition sound was going to stay on throughout the entirety of the track with a voice coming over the top saying “this has been illegally downloaded.” You guys know the one. There is one up-side to the track and that’s the heavy bass that you get hit with. The song doesn’t gel together one bit. Flume is much better than this. 1

Average score: 2.6

Glowed Up (Feat. Anderson .Paak)

James: I said last week that this is the year of Anderson .Paak, and I wasn’t kidding. His name is popping up everywhere, his album Malibu is still making waves and he’s like a firework in the music industry - exploding his smooth vocals in your earballs. Oh, and Kaytranada? 99.9% is only a few weeks away, and Kaytranada just keeps proving why everybody is so keenly waiting on it. This song is smooth af, production is tight (vaguely jazzy, still so present) and AP nails the vocals. Special mention to the tempo change at 3:30 - the duo bring it right down and float you away. Great track. 4.5

Sam: Anderson Paak and Kaytranada are literally everywhere right now. Now the everywhere men have come together on one track and it seems it’s both quantity and quality for the pair. Despite their ridiculous output this year, this may be a highlight for both of them. It’s a minimal but woozy track exploring off-kilter melodies and fractured beats. I love the songs detour in the final minute or so and I love Kaytranada’s facial expressions in the vid. Throwing out A+ for every aspect of this track. 4.5

Meshell: I mean...I like it? AP is killer and the subby bass line is very on trend. The little odd synth line kinda evokes thoughts of the Doctor Who theme song which is all very cute. The track overall though doesn’t wow me. No doubt I’ll willingly add it to plenty of chill playlists but I’m not sure if i’m getting the same wow factor as the boys on this one. 3

Alistair: Everybody is sitting on the edge of their seats eagerly awaiting for 99.9% to drop and if this is anything to go by it’s quite possibly going to be the album of the year. Yeah, that's right. I’ve called it now, this is going to be the year of Kaytranada. This is a really well thought out song where the synths and bass complement the singing down to a tee. Glowed Up is been produced to perfection. It's smooth as fuck and very relaxing, it’s the type of song that I’d listen to whilst laying in the sun beside the pool. 3.8

Average score: 3.95

One Dance

Listen here.

James: It’s no secret that I’m a big Drake fan (you can peep my Views Season series now), and I really dig this song. It’s the more poppy, safe Drake - the one a lot of people like to complain about, as though it’s somehow a bad thing that Drake can wear so many different hats so well and so easily as he does. Is it the best Drake track? No. It’s not even the best Drake track that came out this week (shouts out to Pop Style), but tell that to my twinkle toes and my bouncing head. I can vibe with this, it keeps growing on me with every listen, and you’d better believe the clubs are going to be vibing with it too. Views season is upon us, ya’ll. 4.5 James' Pick

Sam: For me, One Dance sits somewhere in between Hotline Bling and Find Your Love and that’s Drake’s sweetspot. Once again, Drake is creating his own path, giving zero fucks about genre boundaries or what anybody thinks or wants him to be. Essentially, it’s the weirdest pop song of the year borrowing dancehall vibes and marrying it with ‘90s UK club music. Then he just lays down the most effortless vocal melody and creates something that’s catchier than Hotline Bling which before this would’ve seemed utterly impossible. 5 Sam’s Pick

Meshell:DRAKE IS SINGING! Guys! Drake.Is.Singing! I have no idea why this is so exciting to me but I’m in a library of all places right now and I want to knock all the books off their shelves and dance atop a pile of dusty old books. I’m a terrible dancer too so just enjoy that mental image. 4

Alistair: Is Drake even trying in this song? It sounds like he is going to fall asleep. But funnily enough, it actually works! The hook can get a bit tedious and boring. The song really picks up once Kyla starts singing, her vocals are amazing and make this song! My favourite part would have to be at the 2:12 minute mark when the dancehall vibe takes over the song whilst Kyla’s vocals are still killing it. 3

Average score: 4.1

Tegan & Sara

James: I’m going to be honest, I don’t really like Tegan & Sara’s music. It’s too poppy for me, and I can’t connect with it. Having said that, though, I respect them a great deal. They’re brave, they’re unapologetic, and that’s cool to me. This song, though? It’s not for me. The sound is still too poppy, still too ‘pastel’. My ten year old step-sister would probably love this, but me? No, not so much. 1.5

Sam: It must be exhausting as a musician tryna figure out which was critics are going to sit with something. For years Tegan & Sara were alternative and only drew lukewarm responses from alternative media and now they’ve turned all-out pop, they love them. I think the fact is, Tegan & Sara were hiding glorious pop melodies under guitars and organic stuffs. Now they have ripped off the sheets and exposed the songs to a euphoric pop toolkit. This is just a bloody good pop song and if it were on Taylor Swift’s 1989, it already would’ve sold a mil. It still could. 4.5

Meshell:There was a brief period during my early teens when I was really into Tegan & Sara, at least I tried to be as that was the cool thing to do. I have a special reserve of nostalgia for the girls so this new shiny pop sound is quite offensive to me. If somebody played this to me and hadn’t told me it was Tegan & Sara I would have absolutely no way of knowing. Good if you’re trying to distance yourselves from your back catalogue...not so good for old school fans like me. 1.7

Alistair: At first I didn’t mind this song, but the more I listened to it the more and more I got sick and tired of the song. The song starts off great and seems like it’s going to keep building and soaring to great heights, but sadly it just plateaus. The hook needs to be more upbeat. It's got a Japanese anime theme song feel to it. 2

Average score: 2.4


James: If you’re looking for a track heavy on lyricism, look elsewhere. But holy moly, this song is a winner. If Kanye West (circa My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) had a threeway with James Blake and Flume, and they somehow (against all traces of sense) managed to conceive an offspring from their trifecta of lovemaking - Lido’s Crazy would pop out to tickle your earballs. This is a sonic triumph, and I’m so pumped for Lido’s debut album. 4

Sam: After seeing Lido live, I’m of the opinion that he is a musical genius. He is a wizard with his instruments and can flip through several musical genres in a second. The issue with that is that his music at time can be all over the place. Genius is all over the place. It’s a mess. But it’s a glorious mess. It’s captivating because it’s got several different parts to it and yet he manages to tie them all together effortlessly. Its highlight is definitely his singing part towards the end but it’s all excellent. Someone should give Lido Kanye’s number because this production was tailor-made for Pablo. 4

Meshell: I am a hardcore Lido fan and perhaps I am a little bias but I also like to think that means I have a much higher expectation from the young producer. He 10/10 always manages to blend expert compositional skills with enviable sound production know how and I want to hate him out of jealousy but I just really, really love him instead. Crazy is a killer of a first single from his upcoming album and if this guy doesn’t become the next Flume then i’ll cut off my thumbs and you’ll never have to read another review from me again. 5 Meshell’s Pick

Alistair: Right from start to finish this song is genius. From catchy lyrics, heavy bass lines, synths and the use of Autotune, everything mixes well together and then BANG you get hit with this tidal wave-type turn and change in direction around the 2:28 minute mark that just turns the whole song on its head. This song has everything. The lyrics can get a bit much though (a bit boring) but other than that I’m really liking this, especially how the songs ends. 4.2 Alistair’s pick

Average score: 4.3

Love In A Foreign Place

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"][/soundcloud]

James: I don’t even remember where I first discovered hip-hop, or how old I was. But I was young, and I fell immediately in love. It changed my life, no lie. This song - and Pollari as an artist - I live for this sound. Pollari’s style is a little bit Young Thug, a tiny bit Drake, some Future and even a little Travis Scott. But he’s not an imitation act, nor is he a commodity. Simply put, this song is proof as to why Pollari should be on your radar (as well as just affirming how amazing Shlohmo is). One word: fresh. Peep the rest of the Sonya EP out now! 4

Sam: I love Shlohmo’s R&b production and he hasn’t really brought it into play so much since his EP with Jeremih so I’m glad to hear it back. I agree with James, this definitely has a Young Thug vibe to but it’s a little more refined. There’s actually something that feels really sad about this and I think it’s Shlohmo’s melancholic synth work alongside Pollari’s ferocious rambling. 4

Meshell: I too am getting those Young Thug vibes. I don’t know why but for some reason this track just isn’t jumping out to me. Could be the fact that it’s at a totally different pace to the last song we all spoke about or it could be because musically it’s stock standard. No hate for Pollari but his accompaniment is rather ‘blah’. It takes a lot to stand out in the Hip Hop world nowadays and I feel a bit of work could be done to bring this track out of the ranks and into the spotlight. 3

Alistair: Dat beat you get hit with right at the start had my head nodding. As soon as I saw that Shlohmo was involved on this track, I was really excited and his production skills are truly evident on this number. I’m getting a huge RL Grime feel to this song (think KingPin). I could see him either dropping this during one of his shows or even remixing it. 4

Average score: 3.75

[poll id="77"]