Album Name: Imagination and the Misfit Kid
Release Date: November 22, 2019
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Spring is here and colour is bursting out of the ground, bringing with it (dare I say?) hope of a new season. Maybe we’ve not quite escaped the illness of the era, but the end is within our sights and we can imagine what our ambitions for afterwards might be. With that in mind I bring you a concept album about a child who sells their imagination for success. Labrinth’s “Imagination and the Misfit Kid” is a rich and ambitious portrait that reminds the listener of bright opportunities and unachieved dreams.
Labrinth has an undeniable voice for production. He brings vintage influences like soul and gospel to the space age. In “Miracle,” he replaces instruments completely with synth mimics as if we’re listening to a futuristic chamber pop orchestra with otherworldly tones. Then suddenly he outros to a deep-voiced choral break to bring us all back down to earth in a tasteful moment of contrast.
Check out “Dotted Line / Juju Man” or “Where the Wild Things” to hear his knack for using vocoders and warped out vocal samples in his production – like a kinder-sounding Kanye. In fact, you can trace a couple of key Kanye West production tricks in Labrinth’s work, which is great because if Kanye won’t Kanye, someone has to.
Vocally, Labrinth has a gorgeous tone that he uses uniquely to his advantage. Cleverly placed backing vocals in his trademark upper register are unforgettable, and keep the songs fresh and fun. Listening to his voice, it’s no wonder he and Sia are co-collaborators, because they both have a similar candy-coated power to their delivery that meshes really well both on the final track “Oblivion,” and on the album they made together with Diplo called ‘L.S.D.,’ (this week’s recommendception.)
Labrinth has been in the music game since 2009, quietly producing and collaborating with some of the biggest artists out there, like Beyonce, Kanye West and Ed Sheeran. But ‘Imagination and the Misfit Kid’ is only his second solo album ever. It seems that 2019 was a major year for him as a solo artist, with the release of ‘Imagination…,’ a critically acclaimed TV show score for HBO’s ‘Euphoria,’ and the aforementioned Sia/Diplo collab. He’s an exciting artist to keep an eye on, and his epic, uplifting pop is just what we need to launch upwards and onwards.
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