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Album Review | Avelino’s “Ego Kills”

Album  Review | Avelino’s “Ego Kills”Score 70%Score 70%

Ego Kills – My Overall Thoughts:

It’s a strange time, especially in clubland. Tentative reopenings come tempered by an eye on covid figures, uncertain advice and the probing feeling that we might before long be plunged back into the dark days of a few months back. When I reconnect with people in the sun and ask how they are. They say “good” and then an unsettled look crosses their face. “Well…” They add, uncertainly.  Yet despite the solstice having come almost a month ago, summer feels like it’s heating up – and I’m not just talking about the weather. 

So perhaps this is the perfect time for Avelino to drop Ego kills, an album that both hits hard and treads softly, flitting between hard-hitting 140 and the sun-dressed sounds of the park on a hot day. Swinging beats and catchy rhythms set an *instant* groove on every tune and mark this as an album undoubtedly suited to the club, yet, it remains both reflective and upbeat. Ego Kills has bops for nights out, jams for the park, and tracks that you might get the most from out of from listening alone, with most tunes blurring the lines and becoming all three, providing a smooth listening experience whatever the setting.

The instrumentals are lush – a mix of drill, hip hop, and afrobeat interlaced with twisty vocal chops, pulsing chords, and chesty bass. My favourite might be Easy, where a smooth set of chord chops eases and unwinds, forming a perfect backdrop to Krept’s singing. Honestly, I prefer the instrumental to the bars on this one. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have a driving license, but car talk turns me off a bit. I tend to care less about whether you’re driving a TT or a Bimmer, and more about if you’ll give me a lift. Still, if this tune was playing on a speaker in the park with my mates, I wouldn’t care.

AVELINO - EGO KILLS - PRESS SHOT

The lyrics don’t have to be the reason you listen to this, although there’s a lot to love THERE. This is one you can just hear and not think about, if that’s how you want to play it. Bits of the album seem like straight up stand UK rap braggadociosness on first listen and I actually forgot that the album was called Ego Kills until the last words of the final track – I won’t spoil it, but it’s a cracking punchline that consolidates the whole experience in a single killer bar, creating a real “oh damn” moment. With this context, Ego Kills struck me clearly as a story of success, growth, compromise, struggles, and victories encapsulated in 13 tracks, the last two dripping in humility. The album had a whole different flavour after that bar. It’s a lyrical journey well worth going on, possibly twice.


Ego Kills – A Closer Look:

The album begins with Demons, opening with obligatory-seeming “somebody say fire” intro that seems to sit slightly out of key with the album’s title. But the track delivers. Avelino flows like butter over a smooth beat, with undulating synth chords flying around tight kicks and ticking hats. It’s immersive, with both the words and beat moving in perfect lockstep, holding attention and drawing focus. It’s one that works in the club or home. 100k also has beat and bars working together in tight embrace, with Avelino’s lyrics about grinding and growing fitting perfectly with the sparse, driven instrumental, backed up by a beautiful synth line that shifts and moves constantly – like Avelino in the story he tells, The bars seem almost sped up to move with the spirit of what he’s saying. Maybe they are. I don’t know.

For the dark and hard side of this album though, Gorillas takes the crown. Cold bars swivel round a rotating beat that swings between snares, rolling basses, triplet rhythms. Moving, swinging, no time wasted, this beat is fierce, the vocal chops powerful, and the energy is crazy. Eyes closed, face screwed up, head swinging. I don’t want to imagine how this sounds on a proper system, I just want to hear it.

It’s not all deep and dark, however – Not3s and Youngen come together on Control, an instant mover with a breezy chorus and lighthearted feel,to make something smooth, soothing and more of a summery jam than your nan’s finest strawberry preserve. Easy puts Krept’s voice over the most gorgeously cooling instrumental on the album, and Late Night Rolling has Avelino flexing his vocal chords into something more melodic than his trademark monotone flow, bringing to mind the dusty dusky feeling of a warm, late night drive. Add these three up, and Ego Kills comes perfectly timed to find you in the summer heat.

Of course there was one track on the list that will catch anyone’s eye – Me and My Friends featuring Wretch 32. These two as a duo have delivered consistent gold since their legendary 2015 fire in the booth, and with a dreamily floating instrumental this track carries the same energy. The beat and bass come in smoothly under Avelino’s flow, underlining some of the best bars of the album before Wretch 32 sets the beat aflame, his voice dripping with the same emotion that emanates through the instrumental, complementing Avelino’s monotone verses to show why these are two of the hardest hitting collaborators around.


Verdict:

I might not find the time to listen to this album again but I’m glad I did, and there are a few tracks that are definitely going to find their way onto my playlists. Honestly, I like pretty much every track on here. Except Audacious. For some reason that one just doesn’t do much for me. But other than that? Yeah, good stuff.


Illustrated by Beth Herbert

Review

70%

Summary Quick flows, hard-hitting beats, and smooth listening mark the latest E.P from South London's "young fire" Top Tracks: Summer vibes - Easy, Control, Late Night Rolling Heavy - Demons, Gorilla Top Track - Me and My Friends (feat. Wretch 32)

Album Rating
70%

About The Author

Oskar Smith

I'm Oskar, an ex-music student living in Bristol. With a plethora of playlists and a keen crate-digging habit, I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting music to listen to, share and maybe - just maybe - write about. Catch me scribbling at a desk, wandering the city or hiding in a stockroom - always with headphones of course!

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