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Bloody Civilian Finds Resonating Balance On “At Least We Tried” [EP Review]

In an industry, where the alté community is struggling with their identity—as most of their aesthetics and sonic influences have filtered into the mainstream, through new generation pop artists that don’t shy away from experimentation, the lines are now blurred and it’s not so necessary to take on the alté label.

Bloody Civilian's Anger Management Cover Art
Bloody Civilian’s Anger Management Cover Art

You can tell right from the get-go that Bloody Civilian isn’t your traditional mainstream pop queen/princess. Her artsy, neon aesthetics, her unpredictable cadences in deliveries and her choice of abstract progression in beats that don’t necessarily resonate too well in the mainstream. However, her music isn’t classified as alté on DSP’s, neither is the terminology a buzzword where her music is concerned.

Bloody has gotten with the times and understands, that it goes without saying and she also needn’t alienate some newer mainstream audiences that would be willing to give her a chance. On Anger Management: At LEesT wE tRIED, it’s clear that she’s not a mainstream artist. The cover art depicts a mirage of overlapping murals and artwork that hint at something rebellious and ominous. Which is what this project is, matter of fact you can glean that from the title. The artiste is not to be messed with. There is a reason why she’s going through anger management.

The song is infused with log drums that has come to be a mainstay in the industry, but the drum patterns and arrangements aren’t exactly lamba-esque or mainstream inclined. So you still get reminded that Bloody isn’t your conventional mainstream artist. How To Kill A Man maintains that same eerie, haunted atmosphere of the preceding song despite being more attuned to the underbellies of night shenanigans that are prevalent in exclusive clubs. The featured artists also fit in like a glove and the immersion into that dark atmosphere doesn’t cease.

Shoulda smoked that shit since morning, but my ancestors are watching” Bloody sings on Escapism, which is a song that emphasizes the innate need to free one’s mind amidst all the chaotic trauma transpiring around her and in the country, at large. The line captures the sentiment of the song in general, where she is overcome with the need to escape but needs to exhibit restraint which is in line with the thematic direction of the album.

Family Meeting acts more as a venting space for Bloody Civilian and her guest artists to vent and release their pent up frustrations, than it’s a sonically appealing record. And it works, there is some beautiful rhythm that can be found in the chaos here, especially in the ambience and towards the ending—the drums are unpacked and the grandness of the record and a very stellar rap verse from ENNY would make anyone feel empowered, ready to take on the world.

Bloody Civilian (@bloody__civ)
Bloody Civilian (@bloody__civ)

Mad Apology ft. ODUMODUBLVCK has a groovy jersey bounce that’s tailor made for the dance floors and it’s perhaps the closest thing to lamba on the project. ODUMODUBLVCK also reminds us why he’s being the mainstream breakout star of the year. The track transitions seamlessly into I Don’t Like You and halfway into the song, the bounce peels off for a very impressionable vocally grating delivery from Jeleel, that merges the angst of emo and infectious energy of visceral drums.

Candy Bleakz also delivers the goodies and constantly switches up her flows throughout her verse. This is arguably the best song on the album because it manages to be enjoyable, groovy music whilst still retaining the edginess and unpredictability that’s not common in popular music. Alternative music at its best.

Come From ft. Ajebo Hustlers places enigmatic flutes and soaring, rumbling synths over a trap beat and it’s the ideal closer of the odyssey into the darkness. “I come from a place where the grass is green” Bloody sings, providing a ray of light in the tunnel of darkness that the entire EP has been. Save a quite jarring, cringe bar—the Ajebo Hustlers put in a tight shift and maintain the high status quo of most guest artists on the EP.

Photos by Danielle Mbonu

The original version of Anger Management was also a great project, but what this remix EP has done is given it mainstream appeal and made the music more accessible and less of an acquired taste, although it’s still very much won’t be for predominantly mainstream audiences. Nonetheless, it’s a triumph and one that deserves to be lauded.

Final Verdict:

Sonic Cohesion: 1.5/2
Unharried Transitions: 1.7/2
Expansive Production: 1.4/2
Songwriting: 1.4/2
Optimal Track Sequencing: 1.5/2

Total: 7.5/10

This review is written by T.J. Martins, an avid lover of music.

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