UGLY is about reconnecting with first principles. Plunging into rock music, with as much singing as rapping, it is both a striking departure for slowthai and a return to the roots of Tyron Kaymone Frampton. When he was a teenager in Northampton he loved emotionally intense rock music, notably the likes of Nirvana, Radiohead and Daniel Johnston, and wanted to join a band but that’s hard when you don’t play an instrument and feel self-conscious about singing in public. Hip hop, his other love, enabled him to be a self-reliant vocalist and producer. “Now I can have my own band,” he says with a grin. “This album was me trying to emulate the spirit of the brotherhood ethos that bands have. Music is about the feeling and emotion that goes into it. Like an artist making a painting, it’s the expression of that moment in time. I really felt like I didn’t want to rap, whereas before rap it was the only way I could express myself with the tools I had. Now that I have more freedom to create and do more, why wouldn’t we change it up?”
Attentive listeners will have noticed this musical tendency. SlowThais Mercury-nominated 2019 debut Nothing Great About Britain featured the punk-rock gallop ‘Doorman’ and a collaboration with rock band Slaves (now renamed Soft Play) on the track ‘Missing’. During radio sessions for his number-one follow-up, TYRON, he covered The Verve and Elliott Smith. He is as ready to guest with Idles and Gorillaz as he is with Pa Salieu or Disclosure.
With UGLY, slowthai has finally found his band — sort of. Recorded in producer Dan Carey’s home studio alongside frequent collaborator Kwes Darko, it’s a fluid combination of musicians including Ethan P. Flynn, Jockstrap’s Taylor Skye, Beabadoobee guitarist Jacob Bugden, drummer Liam Toon, and on the dark and woozy title track, his friends Fontaines DC. “They’re men after my own heart,” he says. “They love what I do, I love what they do. Together it’s amazing”.
Presale sign up deadline – Thu 9th Feb, 11:59pm via https://slowthai.lnk.to/bnoylWS
Presale codes distributed – Fri 10th Feb, 3pm
Presale – Mon 13th Feb, 10am.
General Onsale – Wed 15th Feb, 10am
Strictly 18+, ID required on entry.
Stream selfish: https://open.spotify.com/track/4FFec7v5TnYdwNzyrmBGM9