Bobby Basil’s debut album ‘Isaac Nelson’ is an honest narration of the difficulties and indecision in an on-off relationship.
Bobby’s previous output maintained an air of exciting uncertainty. With singles such as WANNA, featuring grime influenced production and others such as G Train containing eclectic instrumentation from Dublin based producer Wastefellow. You would be forgiven for thinking ‘Isaac Nelson’ would continue in this experimental vein; however, disappointingly it follows a rather predictable formula.
Tracks such as I Got No Trust, feature unimaginative trap influenced beats and vocals that are heavily dependent on autotune. This trend is present throughout and reinforces the stereotype of stale and uninspired trap music that saturates the internet.
Bobby makes a concerted effort to carve out and solidify his own lane, sonically speaking. However, in doing so he abandoned some of the most engaging elements of his discography that would have brought another dimension to a fairly rigid and uninventive project.
Conversely the track, She Don’t Know The Cost, is a genuine anthem, demonstrating the potential of his new sound and bringing some much welcomed energy to a project filled with languid, wallpaper music. It features vulnerable, reflective lyricism that is a commendable mainstay of this project. This, tied together with various skits that act as conceptual glue, flesh out a thematically tight piece with a digestible narrative.
The opening track Knocking On My Door embodies the curious nature of meeting someone new, bringing astral sounds and softly introducing the album’s themes. While the final track Lies provides an almost cinematic quality, featuring a patient build up followed by explosive synths reflective of many relationship’s conclusions.
Much of what lies between these two tracks act as filler. Booty, features dated vocals from Aimee Monroe that sound derivative of a ’00s pop R’n’B crossover.
The production for the track Make Up endeavours to present a stripped back ode to natural beauty, but in reality comes across as bare and unfinished. The mixing is clean throughout and despite its predictable nature; the production does demonstrate the direction Bobby is heading in.
As an artist Bobby demonstrated his willingness to embrace a new style on ‘Isaac Nelson’, however, in this attempt to develop a new sonic identity he left behind much of what made his music enticing.