Ghostpoet’s Obaro Ejimiwe has tussled with the challenge of living up to lofty critical expectations since his debut. Album Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam picked up a 2011 Mercury prize nomination before 2013’s follow-up Some Say I So I Say Light earned two Association of Independent Music award nods. Here, he takes a turn that might alienate fans of the icy, sparse electronic beats that launched his career. With a backing band composed of guitarist Joe Newman, drummer John Blease and bassist John Calvert, Ejimiwe dives headfirst into moody alt-rock territory. His languid, spoken word-esque bars are still here, dripping over the title track’s exploration of homelessness and That Ring Down the Drain Feeling’s morose look at an ex-lover’s newfound happiness. But he explores more universal themes than on his past work, stepping outside the tried-and-tested tales of big-city woes and one too many boozy nights. Beyond a few piano-led lulls, the new Radiohead-tinged direction sounds compelling and thoughtful.
Ghostpoet: Shedding Skin review – new alt-rock territory grabs bigger ideas
Tshepo Mokoena is a freelance journalist