Apologies must be made as this belated review of Skream’s latest solo album comes a few down months down the line from its original release. Somehow it slipped through the net. Under the radar. And in the back door.
‘Outside The Box’ is Skream’s latest attempt at doing it solo. Beyond the populist confines of the club-act and electro-pop-trio that is the magnanimous Magnetic Man, Skream stands even taller. This is a worthy attempt to rise out of the underground and manages to maintain much of the magic of his original darker material; although those who yearn for some proper filth will be let down by the fact that this album has had a good going over with the proverbial kitchen mop. Disappointment ensues upon the discovery that some tracks are subsequently left just a little bit soggy i.e. ‘8 Bit Baby ft. Murs’.
That the dirty hallmark of the genre is absent will come as no surprise. After all, Skream is now known for a lighter, tinnier sound with a building beat and a pacier pulse than his counterparts, which is continued in this latest work. Continuing to bag some top vocals, Skream uncovers garage-esqe ghetto babe, Freckles. This double team piece together a gentle evolution of the all-but-dead genres of garage and bassline, ‘How Real ft. Freckles’.
Where Magnetic Man churned out club bangers, Skream takes a lighter hand in his role as a lone ranger, and although Skream’s finesse regularly hits the sweet spot, some of his more serene attempts will bore you into delirium ‘A song for Lenny’.
They say that patience is a virtue. For Outside The Box it is a requirement. Many of the tracks amble along with infuriatingly pedestrian pigeon-steps, but given the right mood, you will have your socks blown off quicker than you can say “I prefer Caspa & Rusko.” Skream used to be the new kid in town. Now he’s dubstep’s biggest name and the genre’s figurehead. He clearly has a lot to live up to and it’s not yet clear if he has delivered.
There are, without question, a number of decent tracks to enjoy and for that Outside The Box is a noble effort. ‘Metamorphasis’, ‘I Love The Way’ and ‘Fields Of Emotion’ are my top tips for the modern pick-and-mix downloader. ‘The Epic Last Song’ is worth a listen if only for the hilarity of its modest titling.
This semi-experimental album pushes firmly on the edges of box. Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly, Croydon kid Oliver Jones, hasn’t managed to explode the world of dubstep. Failing to fully live up to its ambitious title, ‘Outside The Box’ still showcases a handsome effort.