If the rap game follows a conventional path, then a cursory glance suggests Longford spitter Evans Junior is steadily grinding through the cliched milestones: Drop a mixtape – check; support an international artist – check; embroil oneself in ‘beef’ – check.
Despite his stereotypical come-up, Evans’ approach to his debut album is anything but conventional. Existing through the loose concept of weaving through the mind ‘of an organised mess’. The title creates an expectation that on the surface there lacks formulation but the subsequent peeling back of layers uncovers underlying cohesion. This expectation is met to an extent however the ambitious attempt to blend contrasting sounds into one ‘Organised Mess’ proves difficult to execute.
Initially, Evans gently buckles the listener into the back-seat before probing the impending sonic traffic jam. Darting seamlessly between the honest and smooth head-nodder Shanghai to the almost purgatory state in Neverland, using warped vocals and thick 808s to create an anxious and all-enveloping world. The autotuned croons of “How they gonna talk about places they never ever gone, that they’ve never ever been’” alongside sharp synthesisers breed emotions of longing and uncertainty.
The almost cinematic quality to it is juxtaposed by the drill influenced track Bang – the result of embracing the otherworldly mental state prescribed in Neverland. Evans blows away the cobwebs of self-doubt as he proclaims his ‘Peter Pan’ status, flexing in traditional hip-hop fashion – with star studded features and boastful one-liners.
This rich vein of confidence is continued with close collaborator and fellow T.E.D member Txmmy Rose in the anthemic France. Despite the varying tones the project’s flow initially remains effortless and the consistent hip-hop inspired percussion provides the stimulus to maintain the necessary energy.
One would be forgiven for believing that the YBN Nahmir feature would maintain this energy however Ride 4 Me features dated synths, clunky phonics and allows the record to stagnate. Evans is at his best when delivering emotive and melodic, autotuned croons, that effortlessly pull at one’s heart strings. Outside features a ludicrously catchy hook and exaggerated vocals while M’s Interlude presents itself as the sweet spot between Evans’ approach to singing and rapping.
The initial promise of an eclectic fusion of trap, drill and RnB instantly seduces the listener. However the premature pledge to these dynamic combinations loses stamina, paving space for bland filler tracks like Hold You Down. While titled ‘Organised Mess’, the second half of this project feels far more calculated, to it’s own detriment. Much of the early promise for emotional depth and multi-layered messages gives way to premeditated attempts to provide radio ready tracks like Midnight.
The clearly more accessible, pop influenced tracks lack any of the sort of character shown in the first half; be it the bold and audacious deliveries in Bang or the honest, exaggerated vocalisations on Outside. The scale of the sonic diversity creates a genuine opportunity to showcase the true breadth of his being. However, in attempting to paint an all-encompassing picture he spreads the sound too thin, resulting in an initially engaging project that only begins to scratch the surface.
‘Organised Mess’ is a deliberate attempt to encompass Evans Junior’s wide array of sonic inspirations and tastes. However, in his endeavours to bind together these various styles he drowns in his influences.