KID LAB RAT is honing his style with his latest — and appropriately titled — collection of tracks, More Sad Songs.
The Melbourne-based artist blends hip-hop and grunge-textured alt-rock for a sound that resonates and swells with emotions, melodies, and rhythms. In fact, it’s KID LAB RAT’s sense of rhythm that feels most essential to this record — perhaps even more than the pervasive melancholia.
Often, the songs here grow as they go, blending piano into the vocals into the strings and percussion. “Roses” opens the record on a somewhat minimal note, but soon finds a pulse, heavy and layered. Where KID LAB RAT find a quicker hip-hop flow on “Blood Stains” and “My Blackened Heart”, he never loses that edge of pain. Elsewhere, he showcases his ability to hold steady in the pause, as on the slower, shared space of “Holding On”. Emily Wurramara’s contribution here adds a delicate layer that is almost dizzying.
Though More Sad Songs is simply brimming with a sense of loneliness (“Apologetic” is a detailed apology with a march-style percussion to evoke the road towards moving on), it is in the shared spaces that the album finds is versatility. “Just Like You Said” includes the sound of a radio tuning in and a music box like hook, both unheard on the rest of the album. Lpaka’s guest production is fresh: a well-placed choice before the record delves into anger.
By the end of More Sad Songs, it’s unclear if KID LAB RAT has found any answers to his emotional state. The journey is one of pent-up emotions breaking free and bursting forth — perhaps release is the point. If there is hope here, it is in the march-along rhythms towards something new and the collaborative energy that, somewhat inherently, takes from the loneliness that stings so clearly.