Album Review: Check Masses – Nightlife

Check Masses : Lost In The City

Edinburgh’s Check Masses debut album NIGHTLIFE is a brilliantly moody affair which grabs attention despite its laid back soul, dub, and trip-hop roots.

‘Morrocan Skies’ is a stand out with its tough and rough edged bass and sparse instrumentation leaving plenty of room for Philly’s woozily paranoid vocal.  Lyrically it leans heavily into the darkness, what went down in the ‘sucker scene’ is anybody’s guess but, whatever the initial promise, it probably wasn’t pretty.  

Photo by John Need

Single ‘Lonesome Little Paradise’, is a shot of colour with its poppier tropical leaning sound. It’s definitely the hookiest track on the album: the chorus determinedly hangs about the brain for days after listening.  It samples Rainbow Ffolly’s 1968 psychedelic pop track ‘Sun and Sand’, building on its infectious and thoroughly hummable melody to create a protest song in the guise of a sweetly chilled summer pop tune.  

With influences as diverse as David Lynch, Gorillaz, and old cowboy flick soundtracks, Check Masses have created a slightly surreal collage from elements of electronic, reggae, and folk. The laid back sounds are the perfect delivery system for lead-singer Philly’s heart wrenching vocals. Lyrics are rooted deeply in personal and generational struggles of slavery and mental illness.

Put it on loop and let the gentle hooks ease into your days. Then, buy the vinyl version and support the art, like you know you should.

Nightlife is out now digitally on Trassic Tusk Records and the Limited Edition vinyl edition is out from 1st July.

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