Album Review: Easy Life – Junk Food

By Olivia Buckley

Easy Life have been a band I have kept firmly on my radar since their debut single release of the smooth, silky “Pockets” in 2017. This catchy melody has taken up a permanent residence on my playlist with its brass instrumental opening, rhythmic verse underscored by cool, captivating riffs and a head-nodding 93BPM tempo. Their subsequent EP Creature Comforts was met with high acclaim, paving the way for their eagerly awaited debut album, Junk Food.

The ingenuity and originality of Easy Life’s lyrics is what sets them apart from the wealth of emerging young alternative bands.

Within a day of its release, this 7-track musical embodiment of its title reached number 7 in the UK album charts, a testament to its groovy jazz and hip-hop fusions that leaves listeners wanting more. The technicality of the music’s ingredients represents a departure from the momentary satisfaction but ultimate disappointment of junk food. By sampling Vines on ‘Earth’ and crafting a deeply personal narrative about frontman Murray  Matraver’s close fraternal relationship on ‘LS6’, for me, the ingenuity and originality of Easy Life’s lyrics is what sets them apart from the wealth of emerging young alternative bands.

On “Dead Celebrities”, Matraver questions our obsession with the lives of people assigned the status of celebrity to the point of mundanity.

The paradox of cynical realism in their lyrics with the laid-back vibe of the aforementioned single ‘Pockets’ is a theme these five Leicester born lads carry through this album. The “plastic cemeteries” they witnessed during a studio session in LA provoked the musings from which the track “Dead Celebrities” was built. A drive past the Museum of the Dearly Departed put the glorification of stars we have lost under the spotlight; Matraver questions our obsession with the lives of people assigned the status of celebrity to the point of mundanity. Their critique of modern celebrity culture also hinges on an unease with fickle fame and the superficiality of the transient state of being in the limelight, as reflected by the waste plastic strewn across a cemetery the passed, simply discarded after just one use. This is a culture which leads aspiring stars to “want a way out’” Matraver  even idolises those who are tragically lost too soon, speaking of his desire not to “fade out”, wishing to be signed up to “The 27 Club”. In the cut-throat environment of stardom, a premature death is becoming an attractive prospect for many, perhaps to be remembered as a martyr for the industry represents ultimate success.

Lead singer Murray Matravers combines rapping and down-beat singing on many tracks during the album, including definite highlight “Earth”. Image credit: Simoncromptonreid via Wikimedia and Creative Commons.

The environmental concerns referenced in “Dead Celebrities” are also broached in “Earth’”, an ode to not feeling at home on our planet. The Trump-mocking video for track ‘Nice Guys’ sees the band venture into political satire. This truly reflects the shambolic state the band think the world is currently in. Yet, the Midlands five-piece manage to pair their lyrics with teasingly upbeat melodies. This parallels to their steadfast determination to focus on themselves in this world of external instability. The brass accompaniments in “Nice Guys” give Murray and fellow trumpeter Sam Hewitt free reign to jam on the horns and inject a dose of light-hearted fun into this track.

Easy Life manage to pair their lyrics with teasingly upbeat melodies, a parallel to their steadfast determination to focus on themselves in this world of external instability.

The overriding theme of this mixtape is the juxtaposition of acknowledging all the flaws in today’s society while simply getting on with navigating life as a youth in the 21st century. Easy Life make music at the intercept of multiple genres and crowds. This creates a dynamic audience who each appreciate their talent for what it represents to them. Easy Life are truly on the cusp of a career-defining year.

Easy Life’s debut album, “Junk Food”, is out now. The play headline Dot to Dot festival this summer; for more information and dates go to www.easylifemusic.com.

Image: Joe Vozza via Wikimedia and Creative Commons.

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