Ed Scissortongue and Lamplighter bring us their sophomore LP, entitled ‘Tell Them It’s Winter’ (did anybody tell them it was July?), released once again through High Focus Records, who have been setting the hip-hop scene alight with every project they add to their growing catalogue. The duo, comprised of the Cambridge lyricist and the Edinburgh-born producer, are one of the most forward-thinking acts operating in our incredibly diverse scene, and this release continues the mature, provocative sound introduced on their debut record ‘Better. Luck. Next. Life’, but with a more uplifting undercurrent than it’s predecessor.
Opening with the cinematic ‘Grandzeen’, the glitchy, off-kilter soundscape builds in intensity before Scissor’s vocal completes the scene as the track draws to it’s close; it’s clear that the maturity this duo showed on their debut LP hasn’t gone anywhere. The subtlety and intelligent nature of their output is perhaps best exhibited on the following track; the sublime ‘TTIW’ is an early highlight, with Lamplighter’s textured production and Scissor’s vivid writing combining to result in a true work of art. The sparse production of ‘Week’ and the poetic lyricism that falls sharply over the thumping, intermittent percussion and heavenly synthesizers makes this track another excellent cut. The addition of the violin towards the end of the track is a tasteful and memorable production choice, with the emotional tale reaching an intense finale.
The album’s impeccable opening run continues with ‘The Dust Don’t Lay’; the imagery conjured by Ed’s metaphorical musings is fantastic, with a wide, emotive vocabulary complimented by expertly handled production from Lamplighter, which mirrors the feelings stirred by the vocal perfectly. The eery ‘Hyperballad’ is great too, and the beat changes and switch-up’s unfalteringly sustain the mesmerising vibe until Ed’s final “summer in a hyperballad” rings out for the final time. The back end of ‘Tell Them It’s Winter’ finds Scissor and Lamplighter experimenting with ambitious tracks such as ‘Light Round Here’, ‘AFK’ and ‘Detours’; the sonic, structural and compositional elements of these songs go far beyond your traditional hip-hop music, and it’s a testament to the versatility of the High Focus crew that this left-field side of the spectrum is showcased in such glory.
‘Tell Them It’s Winter’ is a memorable project that requires some work from the listener to be properly appreciated. The grandiose instrumentals and the layered lyricism take some time to be digested, but as is so often the case with stellar music, this is in no means created on solely a surface level. Ed Scissor and Lamplighter have just released one of the most intelligent and rewarding projects in recent memory, and you need to check it out.
By Sam Bennett