Loyle Carner’s Yesterday’s Gone was an announcement of a new voice in the hip-hop scene. This is not a scene I am personally very familiar with. However, this album was brought to my attention by a friend whom I share a love of spoken word poetry with. Although not something I would have ordinarily sought out, I hold his opinion in high esteem and he promised me some poetic and profound lyrics, so I thought I would give it a go. Boy am I glad I did.
More than most this album is a work of art, with a very personal narrative that runs throughout which really gives you an insight into the world of Loyle Carner. This distinctly personal touch is partially facilitated by the large number of skits on the album. These are one of the few elements of the album which have faced significant criticism with the general reaction to Carner’s debut being strong. Despite this I felt these skits add an extra dimension to the listening experience, truly making it an album to experience as a whole as opposed to just a collection of songs. This is a problem which Gone Yesterday could have easily fallen into as a debut presumably written over a large time frame. Luckily this album doesn’t appear to be rushed but instead is well thought out and executed.
The production on this album takes influence from jazz, gospel and 90s hip hop and merges these together to form a cohesive sound, despite the variety of genres it draws from. The reason I believe it achieves this coherence is Loyle’s unique delivery and descriptive writing style which is always the focus of the track regardless of the production. Throughout the album, Loyle Carner features a number of collaborations with Kwes and Rebel Kleff both making an appearance, however, the most successful was Carner’s collaboration with Tom Misch which led to the creation of Damselfly, my favourite track on the record. The track was the perfect amalgamation of both Carner and Misch’s sound and is one of many collaborations from these two up and comers. Here’s hoping for a full collaborative album from the pair in the future.
Gone Yesterday is far and away my favourite debut of the year and one of my favourites generally. I am very interested to see where Loyle Carner goes from here, he’s set himself a high bar, but based on his current trajectory he might just smash it in the future.
Listen to our Best Of 2017 Playlist here!