First Impressions: Tyler, The Creator, Mura Masa, Tourist And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 07/04/2017

First Impressions are our weekly roundtable reviews sifting through all the fresh new music. Our writers take a listen, slap a score on it and then justify said score. This week Cub Sport, Tyler, The Creator, Mura Masa, Tourist, Skepta and Matthew Young face the jury.

Cub Sport - O Lord

Zanda: There’s no doubting that this is a cool new direction for Cup Sport, but I’m not buying into the ridiculous hype around this song. It’s great to see a band like this branch out into different styles of music - but i’m not convinced it deserves the status it’s being given at the moment. That all being said, some incredible harmonies and vocal layering are crafted in a heart-tugging way and I can see why this does appeal right to the hearts of stacks of their fans. 3.5

Dominique: If this song was a colour it would be beige. At the start of this song I was reminded of the likes of Troye Sivan or even One Direction. Parts of me want to be swept up by the amazing quality in sound production but I just can’t get past how basic a lot of the elements sound. The depth and dynamic of the song are there, but there is something repetitive and bland about the vocals that kill it for me.  2

Sam: It’s so rare for an artist in that triple j world to make such a bold move and come out with something that’s simultaneously so unapologetically pop and bold. To come out to the world with this song is such a massive leap and it’s been so beautifully handled. This is my favourite Cub Sport song to date because it so aptly captures that feeling of having something so good that you’re always fearful it will leave. There’s no need for the band to do much instrumentally because the lyrics and the vocal melody provide the power. It bleeds soul and honesty and I think a lot of people will appreciate it so much. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Average Score: 3.3

Tyler, The Creator - 9/11 / Mr. Lonely (Feat. Frank Ocean)

Zanda: It’s so awesome when artists like Tyler use things like an intentionally jarring and out-of-sync beat to really shake up their music. Who says that a time signature has to make sense and be a constant driving force. That slightly late third beat of each bar of sound wakes you up every time, and of course his rhymes are just as amazing as awesome. Loving it. 4

Dominique: This song incites my mind.  That unsettling, off-beat sound really does set apart artists like Tyler from the pack. The elements of this song combine to create a dynamic, unpredictable and cerebrally interesting atmosphere. I don’t think this song is much of a chiller, it’s something to put on and fully contemplate and consider. 3

Sam: It’s so good to hear Frank and Tyler back together again but more importantly, it’s nice to hear Tyler over something that’s not so dark and intense. He’s vibing out on this one and taking it slowly. As a result we really get to sink into his flow and appreciate the bars, rather than being somewhat overwhelmed by the intensity of it all. It’s great to hear Frank here but Tyler totally steals the show. His next project could be his biggest yet. 4

Average Score: 3.6

Mura Masa - Second 2 None (Feat. Christine & The Queens)

Zanda: There’s absolutely no doubting what a supreme and prodigious talent Mura Masa is now, and he’s gone from a relative unknown flying under the radar to one of the most visible talents in the world in the past few months. A known beatmaker, it’s awesome to see him pretty much exclude a driving beat from this track and only use bass and bass drum very sparingly, instead relying on an amazing mastery of melodic conventions, all the while mixing in sparing glitchy bubble-pop sounding samples. This is just about my favourite thing he’s ever done. 4.5 Zanda’s Pick

Dominique: This leftfield song is so true to that vibrant, engaging sound Mura Masa has managed to cling on to. The softened percussion surprisingly elevates Christine’s vocals and the melody in a uniquely clever way and it’s gleefully refreshing. Christine’s voice becomes strongly poignant in the way it’s layered and combines with the music in the climax of the song very nicely. 3.5

Sam: I had really high hopes for this Mura Masa album but with every drop they seemed to be dashed a little bit. I suppose I was expecting something a little less cut and dried. Thankfully, I’m finally excited by one of them. I’m so glad that he goes slow on this one and allows Christine & The Queens take the reigns because she’s such a lyrical and vocal force. His production is careful, delicate and complimentary, amounting in what’s sure to be an LP highlight. 4

Average Score: 4

Tourist - We Stayed Up All Night (Feat. Ardyn)

Zanda: I was definitely late to the party with Tourist but in this one song my perception of him as an artist has been completely transformed. This was easily my favourite song from New Music Friday last week - it’s just a supreme pop tune, and it’s awesome to see Tourist really build a song around a vocalist. His production compliments Ardyn so well, and yet he’s able to work in a classic Tourist counter-melody as well in the bridge. 4.5

Dominique: The harmonies in this song seem to integrate in the production so well and it’s making me swoon. I’m just picturing myself wandering around in a Sofia Coppola movie. Tourist’s production compliments Ardyn’s voice SO well! This was a collaboration that was born to happen. The emotive swoop in the climax is really hooking. Love this! 4.5 Dominique’s Pick

Sam: Unlike his debut album U which grabbed me emotionally immediately, this one’s a grower. Perhaps, it’s because it takes a slower tempo and a somewhat melancholic vocal but it just took me a little while for it to grab me. After numerous listens I’m on board and I think that’s because of that sprawling synth that defines the hook. Personally, I prefer Tourist’s instrumental work but this vocal is good and it’s an intriguing song. 3.5

Average Score: 4.16

Skepta - Hypocrisy

Zanda: I was honestly a bit underwhelmed by this one, as throughout the track Skepta threatens to really take off but both his verses and the production remains pretty understated the whole way. It’s still a good grime track, but I think we’ve come to expect heavier stuff from Skepta. 3

Dominique: I’m really used to the punch that Skepta normally packs in his tracks. ‘Hypocrisy’ really lacks any impacting element. This reminds me a lot of his last record Konnichiwa, in the way the song is laid out, the lyrics and his flow. It’s kind of a shame that he’s come out of his hiatus with something so familiar and unimposing.  2

Sam: Skepta is such a clever lyricist, particularly when he’s being comical and the centrepiece line of this track, “I’ve got 15 iPhones but I’m so not phoney,” is so good. Unfortunately that’s about all that’s grabbing me about this song. It’s a great, solid track but there were 12 of those on Konnichiwa that sounded exactly like this one. I’m looking for where he’s going to go next and this one gives me no hints. 3

Average Score: 2.6

Matthew Young - Collect

Zanda: A really fun pop track, and showing once again that Matthew Young’s vocals are incredible diverse and how great his range is. 3.5

Dominique: Aw Yes! This has that driving, grinding, funky sound and I’m so into it.  I love the punch of all the elements and the catchy melody line. A really, really fun pop song. 4

Sam: This is such a great track. I love how the production is so in-your-face from the thumping beat to the forthright nature of the vocals. It grabs you within the first few seconds of the song and he holds you in the pocket for its entirety. The beat never really needs to deviate of its path either. He holds the melody with his vocals and delivers a soaring chorus without the beat changing at all. That reminds me of Dev Hynes’ style of songwriting and I love that. 4.5

Average Score: 4

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