Spiderr album review

Once you develop a cult following on the level of Bladee and Drain Gang, it can sometimes be easy to fall into the trap of ‘giving the fans what they want’, perhaps sidelining your own artistic vision and progression in the process. However, Bladee continues to be a champion of the soft-spoken and introverted while simultaneously keeping his sound fresh and unique almost 10 years into his career.

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Bladee, Spiderr. Credit: Year0001

Once you develop a cult following on the level of Bladee and Drain Gang, it can sometimes be easy to fall into the trap of ‘giving the fans what they want’, perhaps sidelining your own artistic vision and progression in the process. However, Bladee continues to be a champion of the soft-spoken and introverted while simultaneously keeping his sound fresh and unique almost 10 years into his career.

The artist initially started making waves in the fledgling sub-genre of ‘cloud-rap’ after his appearance on Yung Lean’s 2012 mixtape, 'Unknown Death 2002,' and from there, in 2014, he released a debut mixtape of his own, entitled ‘Gluee.’ Following the success of this mixtape, consistent releases, endlessly creative song writing, and most importantly, a dedicated fanbase, this facilitated Bladee and Drain Gang’s rise to niche internet stardom.

Compared to the departure from Bladee’s usual style on ‘Crest,’ released earlier this year, this album is somewhat of a revert to type for the Swede. However, that isn’t to say that the ideas on this album are played-out or stale. His usual brand of electronic, heavily autotuned, intoxicating cloud-rap comes this time accompanied with a slew of new influences.

Some are an obvious choice artistically, whilst the upbeat, distorted hyperpop-style guitars on 'I AM SLOWLY BUT SURELY LOSING HOPE' create a sensory overload not dissimilar to a '100 gecs' instrumental, which adds to the somewhat crazed and confused nature of the song.

However, some of the drum patterns scattered throughout this album on tracks like 'UNDERSTATEMENT' and 'DiSASTER PRELUDE' appear to be borrowed from UK drill, which exists at pretty much the exact opposite end of the hip-hop spectrum to Bladee’s brand of dreamy, electronic music, but they appear to fit surprisingly well within the context of the album, accompanied by bright synths and sticky melodies that breathe new life into what would have otherwise been an odd artistic choice.

Bladee’s often-criticised rapping ability is another pleasant surprise on this project. While he’s still not quite Kendrick Lamar, he does bring tight flows and lyricism that is often simple, but communicates his feelings in the songs perfectly. The feelings of loss, imposter syndrome and heartbreak are playfully mixed in with references to pop culture, such as the ever-popular game 'Counter-Strike.'

On past projects, Bladee’s vocals often became part of the instrumental; in a sense that they were not saying anything particularly meaningful (or coherent) in order to maintain the ‘vibe.' This was effective in its own right, but on Spiderr, he commands the instrumentals and flows over the top of them masterfully.

All these factors combine to create one of Bladee’s most complete albums in recent memory. It doesn't overstay its welcome with its trim 31-minute runtime and delivers in every aspect you could possibly want from a Bladee album. If you’re already a Bladee fan, then you will love it, and if you’re not, then this might be a good place to start.

 

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