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Album reviews
Artist:
j ember
Album:
Sleepwalking
Release year:
2020
Label:
06 August 2020 / by Nicole Nwosu (author)


Genre: Indie Pop, jangle pop

j ember, an up-and-coming Toronto artist is trying to grab ahold of the broad indie and alternative scene. His first EP, Sleepwalking, consists of five tracks that touch upon a seemingly toxic relationship and loneliness, yet the vibes give way to feelings of wistfulness and nostalgia. Sonically, his music parallels that of Rex Orange County and Roy Blair, adding him to a group of simplistic yet good artists to listen to especially as one wishes for a day with their friends at their favourite outdoor place once COVID-19 is over.

On first track, 'Lower Than Low', j ember’s smooth voice along with simple beats and little rap blurbs make the song catchier than it has any right to be. The upbeat melody contrasts with the lyrical story of an unhealthy relationship: "Everything you wanted, I gave you it/Every little piece of me I gave/You take it, then you flaunt it," Ember croons over a slick bassline. 

The EP’s best two songs and lead singles, 'Green Eyes' and 'Bargain Flights' are perfect for summer weather, a new addition to one’s car drive playlist. 'Green Eyes' features production from Take a Day Trip - the duo behind Sheck Wes' 'Mo Bamba', Lil Nax X's 'Panini' and 'The Scotts' from Kid Cudi and Travis Scott. They don't disappoint on this latest collaboration with Ember. Meanwhile the almost 4-minute track, 'Bargain Flights' is a little distorted yet is one of the most memorable songs.

'Elevator Pitch', with its simple guitar chords, adds the most simplicity to the record but has a warm glow that's hard not to love. j ember adds onto his journey, using the song to tell the audience about moving on with life or as he says it ‘onto something new’.

The title track could definitely come from a Rex Orange County album. The short rap within the song does not hold much attention, almost existing as a random addition. Although it is the weakest song on Sleepwalking, it is almost as lyrically melancholy as the rest of the EP and settles for a good ending that doesn’t stray away from the mellowness like the rest of the songs held.  

For a first release, Sleepwalking is a decent EP but it's clear j ember has the potential to be a new breakout star in the alternative industry.

 

Rating: 6/10

The author

Nicole Nwosu

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