Kwes – Meantime EP
At the age of 24, Kwes has a colourful and envy inducing career already behind him. He's produced or remixed the likes of The xx, Damon Albarn and our recent cover star Ghostpoet, toured with Leftfield and formed one half of Kwesachu, producing the Kwesachu Mixtape Volume 1 with female vocalist and experimental musician Micachu in 2009.
Now signed on a solo deal with Warp, he's making the somewhat inevitable transition from background genius to front of house singer, and will be making an appearance at this year's SXSW festival in the US, a surefire way for his success to skyrocket.
With credentials such as these, you expect great things from this EP, and in a way it is a very good start. It opens with Klee, a slow instrumental easing you in to the experimental electronica that forms the backdrop to all four songs. Bashful is the closest Kwes comes to catchy, and with its chorus an echo of tongue twister lyrics it's the stand out track of the record. Honey and Lgoyh are great too, but I can't help feeling that lyrically and physically Kwes is holding back.
While the music excels, as expected from such a skilled and experienced creator, his voice is quiet and hushed and seeming to lack confidence, in a way that makes you imagine him to be anxious of his first proper time in the spotlight. The lyrics are sweet, about love, but disappointingly not as experimental as the music behind them. Overall Meantime is very listenable, subtle and interesting, but not demanding, and I'm genuinely intrigued to find out how this transfers over to his live shows.
Words by Holly Kiernan
'Meantime' is out for UK release on April 30 and you can pre-order it here. Kwes will be playing various dates around the UK in the following months, including The Harley, Sheffield on March 24. Get tickets at http://www.harleylive.co.uk/ticket-shop/.