Syd returns with her second extended solo project away from R&B masterpiece-makers, The Internet, entitled the tongue-tripping ‘Always Never Home’.
Syd’s dystopic, husky, almost whispered yet driven vocals have proven to cohort with many diverse beats; be it the conventional electro-R&B waves ever-present in The Internet’s discography or standing alone with features on Daniel Caesar’s debut project ‘Freudian’ and her own piece from ‘Fin’, ‘Smile More’. At only three songs long, playing for a trivial ten minutes, this single screams “STATEMENT OF CREATIVITY” rather than forced spiel yearning for publicity.
Standing at the fore for the industries’ LGBTQ community (along with artists such as Frank Ocean, producer Kaytranada and Brockhampton’s founder, Kevin Abstract) Syd’s strive to enhance a community in which artists do not need to hide their sexualities, is only strengthened in this piece. Always Never Home commences with ‘Moving Mountains’; a recollection of a past lover who would take everything and give nothing. The lyrics lay upon a mid-tempo bass line, nothing out of the ordinary, but pieced with complex and unnatural keys at two pitches creates the sense of disunity between the couple. Syd questions “what have I got to show for it?”, twice, in the first chorus, with the latter transitioning into an almost sardonic chuckle, an approach at reflecting in disbelief.
‘Bad Dream/No Looking Back’ serves as the centrepiece to this single, the sinuous melodies partnered with a beat reminiscent to an early noughties R&B love song of ‘Bad Dream’ descend into the dream-like fantasy of ‘No Looking Back’. This track by no means refrains from its clear motifs, the lovers only want to make love with no emotional attachments – a subject matter that many an artist approaches, but with very little conviction in comparison with Syd. Perhaps in retaliation towards ‘Moving Mountains’, Syd knows where this will go but isn’t afraid to take the risk for the rewards; “You gon’ love me girl before you know it,
we don’t want that, no we don’t”.
Syd’s latest solo work concludes with ‘On The Road’, comprised of five verses, the beat clashes between two personas; one presenting a deep, darker tone and the other, Syd’s, slightly higher, usual vocal range. With the creative input from producer Kintaro, the former keyboardist for The Internet and mastermind behind arguably their most popular record, ‘Girl’, the beat is switched up at the conclusion of the first verse. Embarking with an electro-pop flow, Kintaro introduces a beat on the keys with the similarities of low-end bass plucks and an unobtrusive snare to contrast with the deeper vocals and partner the high tone melodies.
Always Never Home provides something intriguing, yet, recognisable. Syd’s an artist that took a while for me to adapt to her pursuit of solo creativity; I am still in awe of how each individual element of The Internet work together harmoniously to create great music. However, I respect the way she has taken this knowledge and creative freedom to produce something of her own, whilst still resembling previous work. She is an artist with plenty of room to grow and her individuality and vocal niche is something that stands her apart from anyone else.