Album Review: Strange Boy – Holy/Unholy

Posted 5 months ago in Music, Music Reviews

Strange Boy

Holy / Unholy

[Welcome to the New World]

Holy / Unholy, the debut album from Limerick rapper Strange Boy, is relentless. According to producer Enda Gallery, recording for the album was impeded by the pandemic and many sessions had to be constantly cancelled and rescheduled. The frustration that this must have caused can be heard in Strange Boy’s rapping; he sounds like a man who knows he has to make every syllable count.

The sonic landscapes that Gallery provides for Strange Boy’s raps are beautifully traditional, but sparse. There’s nowhere to hide, and the introduction of a crackling fire on some tracks makes you feel like you’re sitting alone in a small room with Strange Boy while he spits his truth. There are occasional manic highs, like the demented cackling of Hahaha, but the album is a predominantly dark and somber experience. The near total lack of percussion until the final track creates a tension that is rarely relieved by an easy hook, chorus or danceable beat. This makes Holy / Unholy a difficult listen at times, but you get the feeling that’s exactly what Strange Boy had in mind. The struggles that he raps about aren’t supposed to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Strange Boy has taken his demons and transformed them into something intensely poetic, and isn’t that the whole point of art in the end? Joe Joyce 

photo: Leah O’Sullivan

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