Photo: Jack Bridgland
“Don’t sleep on me, girl, just because,” sings Easy Life frontman Murray Matravers on “Nice Guys.” It is a passing thought that sets the tone for an intoxicating amalgamation of neo-soul and woozy lyricism that finds its roots in the easygoing flow of sun-soaked hip-hop, but in many ways the line serves an apt declaration. The Leicester-based band is easily one of the most slept-on acts, and if anyone was looking for an entry point, there is no better place than their latest mixtape.
Junk Food sees Easy Life doing what they do best. Over the course of seven genre-defying tracks, the Leicester band effortlessly pairs weighty themes with an impressive dexterity, allowing them to be simultaneously adroit and existential in the same breath. It is no easy feat and is one that would likely see any other act mired in a bout of thematic whiplash.
Opening on “Magpies,” an interpolation of the 16th-century British rhyme, Junk Food sets a dreamlike tone. “You cast a spell on my heart / I’ve known it right from the start,” sings Matravers before flexing his skills as both as a frontman and renaissance era poet. The following single, the previously-released “Nice Guys,” sees the band doing a 180, jumping into a vintage disco-tinged jam. The only fault to be found here is that “Nice Guys” isn’t longer.
The jubilant nature of Junk Food takes a momentary backseat on “LS6,” a piano-driven track that evokes comparisons to the likes of Randy Newman and Rex Orange County. Musing on the less than ideal reality of being so far from home and lingering childhood fears of forgetting his mother as time passes, Easy Life paints a multi-faceted portrait of themselves and the pursuit of stardom. That notion of stardom resurfaces on “Dead Celebrities,” albeit this time backed by gospel-reminiscent production and instrumentation that is the perfect personification of losing yourself in Hollywood.
From the Arlo Parks-assisted “Sangria” to the reflective closing track “Spiders,” Junk Food arrives as a brilliant showing of Easy Life’s flexibility. It is a skillset that is bound to let the Leicester band carve out a musical niche all their own. This is only the start of Easy Life’s trendsetting status.
Listen to Junk Food below: