RELEASED 9TH AUGUST 2019
Favourite track: Pure Silence
This EP introduces us to the mind of Barney Artist with old school soft Hip-Hop beats as he raps about real life, real issues and his place amidst it all.
As always, I love taking the chance to listen to an EP (especially by UK artists) so when I saw Bikes Are Bikes by Barney Artist, I was ready to press play to discover the 7 track EP. His bio on Spotify notes that he tends to think about London in association with class, identity and the urban space. Sounds like he’d make a great Modernist writer. His album cover shows him sitting down on a step in this neo-classical looking building (perhaps a museum or art gallery?), leaning on his hand looking bored.
The first track ‘Bikes Are Bikes’ is actually an audio (similar to the introduction to MoStack’s album) which looks at politics and specifically Boris Johnson’s role in providing London with ‘Boris Bikes’, a scheme which the speaker is unimpressed by as he claims he too gives young people bikes. ‘Leave It All’ has a very choral, warm waves sound to it as he raps over it. A subtle RnB beat is introduced a little later with a chorus delivered by a female voice telling you to “leave it all, leave it all”. It’s quite a funky sounding song with magical sounds in the background. I like the synth sounds and beat in ‘Calm Down’ as he raps on top of that too. At around 35 seconds in a slightly stronger bass line comes in which contrasts the lighter sounds in there.
The warm wave sounds continue in the next track ‘Splash’. The beat is harder in this and I like how it stops and starts really drawing focus to his words. ‘Pure Silence’ featuring Sipprell has a lovely introduction of slow strings which then fades out as a Hip-Hop/RnB soft beat comes in with warped synths in the background as he raps on the track until you reach the chorus where Sipprell’s angelic voice takes over and diversifies the sound of the track. ‘Fall Away’ has a gradual piano intro with another softer Hip-Hop beat all about how he wants to “chill” but his life is full of troubles and writing lyrics is his best outlet to “forget how I feel”. I think that’s the struggle a lot of UK musicians who don’t come from privilege feel as they try to make their own way in the industry. The last song is an upbeat remix of ‘Calm Down’ by Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn which has you moving a bit more than the rest of the tracks which are typically more serious.
I would say that this album is good to have on in the background as you’re getting something done.