Loyle Carner: ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ Review
Loyle Carner has emerged in a golden-tipped era for British rap music. His strikingly sentimental and deeply personal debut record, ‘Yesterday’s Gone’, is very much an exclusive insight into a family photo album. Hip-hop has an affectionate streak within its lyricism and it would be fair to say that Loyle Carner has produced one of the most brutally honest, mellow and soulful pieces of modern music that you can listen to.
It’s a known fact that there’s many a rapper who loves their mum, but it takes a lot to allow your mum to call you a ‘shmoo’ on your debut album. Or, on any album for that matter. Not only this, but the young rapper gives his mother some airtime on the track ‘Sun Of Jean’ to recite a poem about him and again on the skit ‘swear’.
The album’s latest single and the opening track, ‘The Isle of Arran’, features a gospel-style choir behind the sensitive lyrics of the rapper’s father figures. The track certainly feels like an album closer rather than an opener but for the Croydon boy, it works. The personality of this album begins to shine through in depth with the track ‘Mrs C’. This reference to Carner’s mother starts to bring out the record’s honesty, and further talks about his siblings, tackling the responsibilities that come with being the eldest child within a family.
The album’s lead single ‘No CD’ proves that Loyle is more than just an MC. His linguistic skills coupled with an old school backing of guitar and drums allows him to pay his respects to the 90s masters emphasised through lines, “We got some old Jay Zs, couple ODBs”. It’s clear that Loyle Carner’s influences come from far and wide with track five, ‘Ain’t Nothin’ Changed’, that gives a more easy-going jazz/soul flavour to the album, using a horn as well as the simple bass guitar and drums.
The standout track on this album comes in the form of ‘Damselfly’ featuring Tom Misch. This is not the first collaboration from Loyle Carner and Tom Misch, but this effortless masterpiece brings Misch’s influence and vocal range alongside a constant neat guitar melody and another use of a horn over the chorus. Carner takes on the tracks’ verses. ‘Stars & Shards’ continues this record’s laid-back approach with a lazy yet laconic guitar riff that continues throughout. Carner’s vocals and the drum beat make this an exquisite track proving that less can be more.
Album title track ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ is by far the album’s worst; a thorn amongst roses you might say. This track may be a tribute to the young rapper’s late father and his music, but with the thought-out lyricism and crisp productions of the fourteen other poems and tracks on this record, ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s an acoustic misfit on an otherwise near-perfect hip-hop journey.
UK hip-hop has got a bright future with Loyle Carner at the forefront. An incredible unique snapshot into the artist’s sincere family life.
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