Alternative | Soul | R&B
Seen as this is my first EP review of the year, I thought it best to address how I would slightly tweak my verdicts towards EP’s, in comparison to my typical album review. Last year, I kind of felt like I scored EPs unfairly, and subconsciously capped the out of ten score at 8, in the case of EPs, due to their shorter runtime. This is why in 2021, I will instead be scoring EPs with a five star system, instead of a rating out of 10, but will still be taking all aspects of the project into account.
So here we have the first EP of the year that I have decided to review. And because of how many amazing EPs we received in 2020, it certainly feels like an exciting prospect.
Even better, my first EP review of 2021, is for an artist whose music I am familiar with. After listening to their solid 2019 album The Dubs, Los Angeles based band Ed Balloon had been a group who piqued my curiosity, when it came to where they would go next. That next step comes in the form of their newest EP, 2021’s I Hate It Here.
This is the sophomore EP from Ed Balloon, following their 2017 debut EP Flourish. However, I will likely be referring most to The Dubs, when comparing this project to another; the reason being that said album was of course my introduction to Ed Balloon.
The previous paragraph provides me with a good opportunity to say what served as a pleasant surprise, in the case of I Hate It Here. Much of what leaves me to think that The Dubs was a “solid” effort as opposed to a particularly phenomenal one, was the idea that, for me at least, I found The Dubs to play it rather safe stylistically. While that is by no means, a way of saying that the album didn’t carry versatility, as it genuinely does. But what I’m trying to pinpoint was the idea the The Dubs felt like a project that reigned things in, and it did so very well.
But with this newest project being an EP, Ed Balloon has a lot more creative freedom, to play around and experiment a little more, which was clearly something that the band had recognised themselves.
The opening track of the EP, “Bad Gyal”, gets things off to an incredibly dynamic start. Its fast-paced and noisy production felt like a good musical slap across the face, which made it clear that Ed Balloon meant business.
Following this opening track, is what I deem to be a well-considered mixture of both gritty, hard-hitting tracks, and dreamy soul tunes that feel more reminiscent of The Dubs. That being said, the dynamic flow between tracks, ultimately gave this EP a fun quality for sure.
I feel like I Hate It Here may be one of the projects that a few listeners may have slipped past without noticing, so the main take-away I would love you guys to have from this, is that this EP, and furthermore, Ed Balloon in general, is greatly recommended for anybody in need of more raw and original soul music.
Favourite Tracks: Bad Gyal | Identity Crisis | I Need This Cash
Least Favourite Track: Lonely A$$
Enjoyment: ★★★★ | Memorability: ★★★ | Atmosphere: ★★★★★
Uniqueness: ★★★★ | Satisfaction: ★★★★ | Narrative: ★★★