‘Cash And Carry Me Home’ was the stand out single on Ghostpoet’s debut Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam. In an inebriated tone, he told the listener of his fears and insecurities and this became the basis of the entire record. As a musical exploration into the emotional impact of urban Britain on a young man, the album was critically acclaimed and nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2011. Two years on, and Some Say I So I Say Light strengthens Ghostpoet’s appeal, returning to confront the demons which Peanut Butter Blues created and exacerbated.
The record begins with an underground electronic beat complete with cowbell on ‘Cold Win’ before the recognisable talk-rap begins, hastier than the other tracks. Here begins the confusion of definition, as to align Ghostpoet with a genre is a Herculean task. The sound is somewhere in the midst of hip hop, trip hop, dubstep, post-dubstep, and grime, but Ghostpoet doesn’t fit into any of these boxes. His ambient drawl is comparable to no-one else and his lyrics are brutally honest. This is true for ‘Thymethymethyme’ on which a struggle of anxious self discovery is explored, and closing track ‘Comatose’ where a hauntingly woozy opening is accompanied by the morbid lyrics “I feel / lower than I’ve ever been / I feel / if I fell off a cliff I wouldn’t feel no pain.” It is here where Ghostpoet’s struggle with alcohol is once again brought to the forefront as it was on his debut, lethargically admitting “this shit tastes sweet so I have a whole glass / a few days pass and I’ve had a vineyard.”
It’s the collaborations which sets Some Say I apart from Peanut Butter Blues. Notable appearances include Gwilym Gold, Dave Okumu from The Invisible, and Bombay Bicycle Club collaborator Lucy Rose who features on ‘Dial Tones.’ On this track her voice is more understated than it has been in her other work, as the pair sing self-depreciatingly about why their phone calls aren’t being answered. The combination of a female voice alongside Ghostpoet constructs a more stirring track here than Woodpecker Wooliams’ contribution to ‘Meltdown.’
The sound is distinctly foreboding, but the worry however, is that these tracks aren’t distinctive enough. There is no ‘Cash And Carry Me Home’ on this album, and lead single ‘Meltdown’ takes a few listens before being warmed to. Each of the 11 tracks have personality and emotion, they all present interesting instrumental uses, and they work together to imagine a smouldering atmosphere of melancholy and despondency, but the homogenous nature of Some Say I may be its downfall.
That being said, the record demonstrates maturity, wiseness and reflectivity beyond any other album out at the moment. The fervid emotions which weave through the tracks tie this collection together as something deeply personal and extremely special. It’s an album which is meant to be listened to as an album, it is purposely uniform, and should be praised for it.