Bob Vylan — We Live Here — EP Review

Punk | Grime | Rap

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

This is a review of the Deluxe Edition of this EP, and will take into account all tracks involved.

With the release of their single “We Live Here”, in late March last year, I was first introduced to the London-based punk-rap duo that is Bob Vylan. With such a strong focus on racism in the UK, and even a nod to the Stephen Lawrence murder case, it instantly stood out as a defining track of 2020.

And while we later got the releases of a few more singles such as “England’s Ending”, as well as “Northern Line” (which somehow slipped past me), along with a few remixes of songs like Slaves’ “One More Day Won’t Hurt” and Enter Shikari’s “{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }”, I was still eagerly awaiting a project that brings Bob Vylan’s single releases into one body. I genuinely couldn’t wait to hear more from this exciting duo. And in the month of February 2021, that opportunity has finally arrived.

Sharing the same name as the first single I mentioned in this article, We Live Here is the latest EP from the duo. And after being told it was “too extreme” by the music industry, the duo self-released We Live Here, which stands as a blistering statement in the fight for racial equality. Perhaps the industry being so frightened of this project could’ve been why it is the second release this month that I only discovered recently, and had to actively go out of my way for to discover this EP, although I’d be more willing to blame it on Spotify’s faulty algorithm.

Much like their previous EP, 2019’s Dread, this new EP admittedly blurs the line between EP and album, and could either qualify as a short album or a long EP. But having searched around a bit, We Live Here is, technically speaking, an EP. After all, I made the mistake of calling Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales an Album, and don’t want to make that mistake again.

Another similarity that We Live Here shares with its preceding EP, is an introductory track, simply titled “Intro”. And I feel that in the case of this new EP, it really sets the tone well, and lays out the emotional effects of the artist’s journey through racial injustice, even including a sound-clip of the person giving inspiration to this EP’s name. Don’t let the title fool you at-all; this opening track carries so much more weight than your typical intro.

Following this, we have the title track, which serves as a perfect way to follow the intro. I’ve spoken before about how much I love this track, but it’s lyrical impact, and truly punk feel, is truly special.

Following this, we have a substantial amount of tracks that find different ways to blend together punk instrumentation, and UK rap style verses. And with the primary theme being as strong as it is, these tracks fee perfectly glued together under this project.

I honestly had very little to pick out in terms of less-positive criticism, and even the ones I could find are far from the worst of sins. The former of these two minor nitpicks was the appearance of letlive. / Fever 333 frontman Jason Aalon Butler on “Pulled Pork”. Don’t get me wrong; Aalon Butler is an awesome vocalist. However, his feature just felt out of place on a track like “Pulled Pork”; it simply didn’t blend well for me.

The latter would be “Moment of Silence”, which sounds like a decent narrative-strengthener on paper. But as a listener who has gotten a good grip on the narrative beforehand, in retrospect, you’re practically listening to a minute and 12 seconds of literally nothing. I feel that a better way to approach this, would’ve been to have a sound-clip at the beginning and end of “Moment of Silence”, to better signify what this borderline-interlude is all about, instead of leaving some listeners puzzled, wondering why there’s no music playing.

Other than that though, this EP is absolutely phenomenal! We Live Here, in every regard, succeeded in really conveying that sense of frustration and worry that people of colour must feel every single day of their lives. It is truly impactful, and truly inspiring.

Favourite Tracks: We Live Here | Northern Line | CSGB

Independently Released

Enjoyment: ★★★★★ Memorability: ★★★★★ Atmosphere: ★★★★★

Uniqueness: ★★★★ Satisfaction: ★★★★ Narrative: ★★★★★

Final Score: ★★★★★

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store