Light Years, the debut EP from Melbourne based alternative hip-hop/electronic outfit Crimery, sees James Watts (formerly of until_never) and Josh Snow (AKA Kahn Starp) coming together to deliver an incredibly well rounded effort.
It’s not simply the smooth delivery of the vocals or the top notch production that makes this a special listen. It’s the group’s skillfully chosen instrumentation and ability to step outside the common confines of Aussie hip-hop music that delivers such promise.
Opening track "Colour For The Blind" kicks things off and it’s not long before we get to wrap our ears around Watts’ slick rhymes for the first time. Watts delivers a nice narrative about the pitfalls of impressing women on a minimum wage before a killer chorus jumps out and stabs you in the ear drum… 'What’s all this sound?' – eerily gorgeous stuff.
Second track "I Hate You But I Love You" tries to dispel any notion that this is purely a hip-hop EP as we’re treated to a darker DJ Shadow type beat. The electronic blips and snare drum combined with Watts’ scatter gun rhymes gives this track a vibrant urgency that is maintained throughout the EP.
Next up is "The Broken Table", which takes proceedings to a positively electronic vibe in a well scripted cloud of ambience. Following this is the EP’s standout track, "Night Drive". Watts delivers a sense of vulnerability in his lyrics during the track – 'Why do you test me? I’m not the best, clearly not Presley. Not Hendrix, not even Ben Lee' – and this is ultimately where Crimery’s songs thrive.
EP closer "This Rose" continues the chameleon vibe of the release. What starts out as a great pop melody quickly transcends into a raucous trip-hop hoedown.
It’s by no means an overstatement to suggest this is the start of big things for Crimery. If a comparable set of tracks has been released by an Australian artist recently then they're yet to reach my headphones. Listen for yourself, the EP is free over at Crimery's Bandcamp now.
The unique style and sense of place this EP delivers will see Crimery pick up a horde of new fans over the coming months. Now, if we can only get a show in Melbourne we’ll be able to see if these tracks transcend the recorded versions live on stage for ourselves. Bring it on!
Review score: 8.8 out of 10