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Album Review: Allday ‘Speeding’

Back in 2014 I had the privilege of interviewing a softly spoken but direct young rapper named Allday, who told me, I started with a bit of a message, which went along the lines of – if you feel like a loner, or an idiot, or a loser – maybe that’s not you – maybe you’re really not a loser.” Those words hit home, cementing a strikingly unpretentious image, driven by a sense of authenticity. Three years later, listening to the sophomore Allday album ‘Speeding’, it occurs to me the musical journey and personal growth of a young Australian grunge-rap heart-throb has done nothing to dull his honesty.

As lush keyboard echoes from opening track, First Light fade off like the neon memories of a big night on the town, In Motion starts up, a typically genuine tale told through rhyme, “Crash with your homies, chain smokin’ rollies, and they’re all in love with you…you need to believe in yourself like I do”. Throughout the album, from hip hop drama No Saint to downbeat guitar-sampled Spill My Blood, Allday’s easy Aussie accent glides over the ambient end of pop-rap. His particular vocal flow sits closer to a gentle Sprechstimme than traditional hard-style, a familiar aural caress he’s worked into a signature over the course of his career.

Beyond vocals, a stylistic link exists between ‘Speeding’ and debut album ‘Startup Cult’, evident in the lush production quality of tracks like North Melbourne. Overall, however, the record is a far cry from Allday’s self-declared, “soft grunge love rap,” ethos. Previously familiar fat beats are replaced by a strong electro influence, featuring slow deliberate timings, layer upon layer of keys and gentle atmospheric samples with sonic nods to Daft Punk. Such a shift is easy to see with the input of spearhead producer ILLY alongside a host of collaborators including Cam Bluff, Mitch Graunke and Japanese Wallpaper.

Despite such an obvious musical step toward the soft, ambient side of hip-hop, Allday consistently manages to lay down his own stories, and his own stamp.

Obvious lyrical tricks such as, “You’re racing through my mind, it’s your raceway” reside on the same track as admissions like, “I think my life is as stupid as it sounds”. Some might call it make-out music, but for me, the latest addition to the Allday library stays true, telling the unadulterated personal story of a young man dealing with life. That alone is worth listening to.

Album Rating: 4

Written by Jimmy Sky