There has been a trend lately in genres typically associated with dance music. Throughout hip-hop, R&B and electronic music, producers are beginning to turn the attention away from the party and towards the comedown after the party.
Two of the originators of this wave of introspection are Burial and James Blake, who Peter Lawlor (AKA Replete) unsurprisingly named as two of the biggest influences on his music. While sonically he is distinct from these artists, there is definitely a tonal similarity throughout his debut EP ‘Replete’.
There is variety to the five songs here but they all share a similar mission statement. Lawlor isn’t interested in filling his songs with catchy hooks and melodies. Each track clocks in at around the six minute mark and generally evokes a chilled but slightly uneasy mood. Not to advocate any sort of illegal narcotics but with a track called I Feel Like I’m On Dope, you can probably work out the kind of headspace he is aiming for here.
The first song Easy Love is introduced with a 2-step beat that is quickly overwhelmed by an odd vocal sample. The beat then drops away and is replaced by a slower, bass-heavy track which is also topped off with an eerie vocal. The song becomes busier towards the end and even manages to fit in a saxophone. It is a good track to start off with but the vocal can be a bit off-putting, even if that was the intended effect.
Second track Be Nobody is probably strongest track on the EP. It is the most Burial-esque thing here, with its emphasis on subtle bass and disorienting swirls of sound. The vocal samples used here are a lot more successful as well, with the female voice towards the end sounding particularly lovely; obscured behind the instrumental but fitting in perfectly. Wait For You is another positive one, coming across as some sort of warped house track. Unfortunately, the final two tracks drag on a bit and are not as interesting as the opening trio.
Kilkenny native Lawlor has a masters in music and technology and this experience shows. This EP is one of a technician who knows how to manipulate sounds rather than a songwriter who knows how to write great tunes. That doesn’t mean that his songs aren’t good though, just that you’ll have to work a bit harder to appreciate these tracks. A good pair of headphones are recommended; it is a lot better when you can really hear how detailed it is. It’s a collection that might be more suited for solo listening anyway.