Album Review: Yesterday’s Gone // Loyle Carner

At just 22 years old, it’s crazy to think how much South London hip-hop artist Loyle Carner has already achieved. Previously sharing stages with the likes of Kate Tempest, Nas and MF Doom, Carner has achieved semi-legendary status. Set to drop his debut studio album, Yesterday’s Gone, next Friday (20th Jan), fans of Carner’s impressive back catalogue are certainly waiting with bated breath for the arrival of this highly anticipated release.

Opening the album with ‘The Isle Of Arran‘, Carner perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the record with a glorious gospel fanfare and traditional composure, classically reflecting the influence of East Coast golden age hip-hop. The laid back tones and steady beat of ‘Mean It In The Morning’ demonstrate Carner’s more relaxed musical approach, before ‘+44’ – a track solely composed of vocals, projects the fresh and developing ideas of Carner alongside his contemporaries.

Collaborating with a series of well-known artists throughout the record, a personal favourite has to be ‘Damselfly’. Featuring strong jazz elements throughout, the mix of brass and guitar, coupled with the subtle piano and soothing vocals, create a chilled out track that sounds crisp when intertwined with Carner’s subtle rapping style, and singer-songwriter Tom Misch’s backing vocals. Continuing the jazzy vibe, ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’ narrates being young and broke, with the lyrics “I kinda miss my student loan / I miss sitting in the student home” being relatable in more ways than one.

The addition of a series of voice notes, including ‘Swear’ and ‘Rebel 101contribute an increasingly personal dimension to the album. Clips featuring conversations with his Mum, as well as with a friend, allow the listener an entertaining insight into Carner’s private life. ‘Florence’, a song focused on the subject of Carner’s feelings towards having a sister, further exposes his sensitive side. Tracks later in the album, like ‘Stars and Shards’ take on the subjects of drug addiction, with tales of dancing with the devil and losing friends adding an element of social commentary to this LP.

Featuring Rebel Kleff and hip-hop legend Jehst, ‘No Worries’, accompanied by a simple piano, compiles layer upon layer for a complex number influenced by the featuring artists.  Previously released single ‘NO CD brings in a final blast of energy, before the gentle notes of penultimate ‘Mrs Cdrift in for a tender love song. Final tune, ‘Sun Of Jean’, hears Carner’s Mum emotionally describe him as a “scribble of a boy”, before a spiel of childhood memories. Tucked away at the end of ‘Sun Of Jean’, an acoustic snippet of Carner’s parents singing ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ gives one final insight into the South Londoner’s life, cementing this debut release as both rewarding, and triumphant.

Full of feeling, gratitude and personality, Yesterday’s Gone is an awe-inspiring example of the capabilities of a young, yet extremely talented, up-and-coming artist. This certainly won’t be the last we’ll be hearing from Loyle Carner.

Words by Kate Eldridge

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Kate Eldridge

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