Tommy Brown – Carousouls – Album review

Tommy Brown is back with his second album ‘Carousouls’ a frank look back at the year that wasn’t.

Tommy Brown is back with his second album ‘Carousouls’

Those with their ear to the ground in the British rap scene may already be aware of Brown’s talents. But the south coast rapper is back in the game with his second album ‘Carousouls’ after the not-significant success of his debut drop ‘Emergency’.

It was always going to be a daunting task to match the acclaim of his debut album. Following a red-hot reception which saw tracks like ‘Worn Vices, Torn Hearts’ make it all the way to airtime on Huw Stephen’s BBC Radio 1 playlist. Brown has returned with a new album looking to build on that good foundation.

The coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns have affected everyone around the world. But they’ve also provided very fertile soil for creatives like Brown to sow the seeds of potent new song ideas.

Lockdown 1.0 was the setting for much of the writing for this latest album. And it’s easy to tell, not least from the album artwork, Brown was not happy with the direction the world was heading.

‘Carousouls’ is a super follow-up to ‘Emergency’, after linking up again with Producer Diamondback Kid, Tommy Brown is giving us more of what we like.

Accusation laden, sometimes venomous, lyrics are driven forwards by a miasma of different tones. Fans of artists like Loyle Carner will adore Brown’s ability to shift the vehicle of his rhymes from jazzy vibes through to rock, old school hip-hop and on tracks like ‘Trouble in Paradise’ a lilting jazz-pop hybrid approach takes form.

Analysing the track list more you come across tunes like ‘God Frequencies’ which is a readymade hit. A divine piece of poetry delivered in a form which is utterly irresistible for some prime head-bobbing action.

All in all, ‘Carousouls’ is a great piece of work from Brown. It would be easy – taking it on face value – to have a preconceived notion that the album would just be another collection of songs pounding the government’s response to the pandemic or other political failures.

But, whilst it does touch on those matters, the record takes you on a journey through a spectrum of subjects and issues. From the pandemic, to mental health, to having fun with your mates.

It’s easy to see why BBC Introducing already have their eye on ‘Carousouls’ releasing a handful of tracks already. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Listen to the track Carousel now

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