10 Jul The Grey Area – A Review
KidMarley and 3rty are two individually great and talented musicians in their own rights. After experimenting and growing in their own sounds, they worked together for a track on 3rty‘s Magic EP and The Grey Area was born from the apparent chemistry between the two. The name of the duo urges fans to let go of dichotomous thinking and embrace the grey area between white and black. Together, they have reveled in the grey area between their sounds and present this eponymous project.
The Grey Area is a 7-track project awash with a combination of traditionally Nigerian and more contemporary sounds; running the gamut from Afrobeats to Fuji, Pop, Dance, and even some Folk. Throughout most of the project, you will find a beautiful backdrop of guitars and African percussions. The production is typically rich and sprinkled with the genre influences mentioned earlier. 3rty and KidMarley ride the wonderful production with easy-flowing melodies and lyrics, organic storytelling and layered harmonies.
Sorry is the song that kicks it all off and it does so with energy that grows from the guitar intro to the moment the dance drums kick in. The song progresses naturally and the songwriting is so organic. Definitely an attention grabber and a great way to start.
You gives me flashes of a very funky Afrobeat number with its production. The more contemporary drum elements blend in nicely to underscore the Igbo and English vocals. That hook caught my attention and the melody rings a bell somewhere in my brain’s nostalgia centre.
The production on Dark Clouds gave me goose bumps. The soul in the guitars, the drive of the drums, the lush fullness of the sounds in the hook! This is one of my favorites on the album. I just wish the vocals came more to the forefront, as they get a bit lost beneath the production for my tastes. The song is honest and introspective and can resonate with anyone who has had to come to terms with fears.
Thots let me down a bit coming from the high energy of Dark Clouds. I love the introduction of the sitar and the beat/flow switch up near the middle threw me for a pleasant loop. I just felt it wasn’t as involving as some of what came before it.
Ogunfe was the track that cemented my interest in catching this project. I heard it when it was initially released and fell in love with the laid-back atmosphere the song embodies. The summery breezy guitars, the strings and boom-bap drums! The vibe is impeccable. A few effects here and there had me missing some of the lovely storytelling going on but nothing could interfere with the enjoyment of this song.
Erekere does away with the guitars that had become a staple of the sound palette. This song was a pleasant surprise, reminding me of folk songs with the group singing and the comic nature of the delivery. Featured artiste Mokanla 11 brought a wildly different sound to this Fuji-folk hybrid and showed that experimentation can always bring about a fresh take on musical stylings.
The closing track, Denge Pose, sounds like a summation of all the directions the album took. It still has some of the folk feel Erekere previously introduced. There’s more sprinklings of Igbo and group singing. The instrumentals are laid back and form a subtle canvas for the creative storytelling the project is full of.
I think The Grey Area are on to something here. In a market that is becoming saturated with both extremes of contemporary and traditional musical styles, this experimental middle ground could be the birthplace of some amazing stuff. The project, like its creators, is confident in itself and its style, ambitious, different, honest, conscious of its context, and thoroughly entertaining. I implore music lovers from both ends of the spectrum to give it a shot.
Catch a vibe with the tracks below.
You just might fall in love with what lies in The Grey Area.