False Idols · October 22, 2021
UK rapper and producer Tricky has officially launched his independent record label False Idols and released his first major project Lonely Guest. The album combines an array of different artists including IDLES front man Joe Talbot, UK rapper Kway, and singer Marta. Each track invites the listener into a new world with Tricky’s dark and harrowing production providing a backbone for every song. Lonely Guest is a genre-less compilation that shifts between hip hop, grunge, pop, rock, and R&B, leaving the listener impressed and confused all at once. According to Tricky, Lonely Guest “lays at the center of a new era and network of artists for False Idols, which draw together on a unique vision for a contemporary independent record label,” as he is trying to lay the groundwork for his start as a major label in the contemporary music world. With freedom of expression and underlying themes from the pandemic in times of isolation being reflected through the album, Lonely Guest is a fitting start for the label.
The album’s cover reflects the straightforward and unique sounds that each artist brings to the project, with black and white mugshot-like photos stretching across. While the album is very contemporary and almost meant to be misunderstood, some tracks seem misplaced and can feel like a confused child rambling over simple drawn-back production. The inconsistency and free-spirited will reflected on the album can ironically make the listener feel like a lonely guest at a party, having no idea what is going on and feeling isolated and confused. While some tracks on the album show originality and excitement, others appear to be unenjoyable jumbles of words and sounds. Dark synth tones, crisp snare drums, 808s, and heavy guitar riffs are prevalent in Tricky’s simple and ominous production style. While not all of the collaborative artists are able to match his sound, Kway is one of the few artists that does so perfectly, finding his flow on top of pulsing bass and slicing synth edits in “On a Move.” In this way, the album is able to provide an ample reflection of society during the pandemic. While it is not always enjoyable to listen to and can sometimes be unpleasant, it is a constant reflection of honesty and isolation, forcing independence and pure self-expression in the strange times we all live in. Each track seemingly depicts a unique pandemic-era experience, open to endless interpretations and meaning something different to every listener. Lonely Guest places a dark and contemporary musical frame around a period of intense isolation, amalgamating uncomfortable and raw expressions of each collaborative artist’s work.