Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes — What Kinda Music — Album Review

Joe Boothby
3 min readApr 29, 2020

Alternative | Experimental

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

This album came to my awareness after stumbling across the teaser track that was “Nightrider”. Said track had a very indulgent and nocturnal mood, not to mention a feature from rap artist Freddie Gibbs. However, this track took little to no time to have me quite interested in the collaboration between Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes; What Kinda Music.

With the combination of producer/guitarist Tom Misch and Drummer Yussef Dayes, What Kinda Music was born. As the title of this project might suggest, I believe it to carry the ambition of being a genre defying record, with the satyrical title of What Kinda Music pointing to this.

What I liked about this genre-defying concept and their execution of this, is that both artists have managed to do this is a very subtle manner. When I think of an experimental piece, something surreal or out-there would usually come to mind. But in the case of What Kinda Music, it still feels accessible whilst remaining a piece that doesn’t rely too heavily on any given genre. Nonetheless, the music found on this album does borrow a few miniature elements of jazz and soul.

The bluntest way to put it would be that a good handful of the tracks just make for music that listeners can simply enjoy, without thinking too hard about “what kinda music” it is. And this aspect of the album, in my opinion is the best thing that it has going for it hands down.

But unfortunately, this awesome focus behind the album didn’t completely add up to create the flawlessly enjoyable experience that I admittedly expected somewhat after the high level of anticipation I felt prior to its release.

In fact, there are quite a few tracks on this thing that musically, feel incredibly unpolished for me. I honestly think my biggest musical issue of this album generally would have to be the drums, which don’t seem to rhythmically match up with the remainder of the instrumentations, which in turn make each of the offending tracks feel considerably more difficult to immerse in.

I personally found myself being brought out of the moment with this album quite often, and this really goes against the really solid genre-defying concept that these two artist had, and it really does let the whole album down a considerable amount.

The tracks that have inadequate production were a real shame to behold, as those I actually did enjoy have really seemed to grow on me in the last few days, and carry hefty amounts of atmosphere and colour.

Aside the tracks that were either badly produced or tracks I enjoyed, there is one more elephant in the room I wanted to address; “Julie Mangos”. The penultimate track on this album was pretty much the rock-bottom point of this project for me, as well as the moment in which I lost interest the most. Thankfully the closing track does what it could to redeem this mess of a track, but lets just say I didn’t go into this album, expecting a couple of dude talk about Mangos; on the contrary, I came for music, so what is this pseudo-interlude/soundbite thingy doing on here? To say that this track was completely unnecessary and irrelevant doesn’t really quite do it justice.

So in conclusion, I came away from this album feeling like it was a very mixed bag. I do wish they spent a good amount of extra time and effort on the production and the assembling of each song, in order to really compliment the accessible, yet genre-defying outlook of What Kinda Music. However, I also came away from this project with quite a few tracks that I will continue to listen to throughout the remainder of the year.

Favourite Tracks: Festival | Tidal Wave | Last 100

Least Favourite Track: Julie Mangos

Beyond the Groove | Blue Note Records




Joe Boothby

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