Leeds-based hip-hop trio SLACKS released their self-titled debut EP towards the end of last year, and while it shows a lot of promise, it just falls short of greatness.
It's by no means a bad release. The vibe that they have captured is great: soulful and laid-back tunes perfect for chilling out to, but the songwriting lacks depth.
They do, however, get some things right. The EP follows the formula of jazzy acoustic guitar chords and hip-hop drums paired with soulful, breathy vocals. The minimal lo-fi production also lends itself well to this style of music and adds a dash of rawness to their tunes in a sea of over-produced hip-hop and neo-soul that saturates the market nowadays. They've clearly established their sound here, which is great for a debut release, but it also proves to be a double-edged sword: The formulaic nature of the songwriting results in songs that are all quite similar, to the point where they seem to blend into one another, broken up by the occasional bit of chatter between tracks.
There are some stand out moments, 'Gorillionaire' is a great track with a memorable vocal and some nice stop-start moments that keep things interesting. 'Reelism' is solid as well, with its trap-influenced drums and some really nice guitar harmonies towards the end. That's not to say any of tunes on the EP are bad, they're just lacking strong hooks which make you want to listen over and over.
SLACKS have shown their potential with this release. They've got their sound sorted, they just need to fine-tune their songwriting to take things to the next level.