By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)
The internet’s ability to impact emotions is well documented. In an age where we all have devices in our pockets with more power than the computer that got us to moon, it’s no surprise that this accessibility has had some sort of effect – the likes of Death Grips have expressed the sheer paranoia and anxiety the power big governments hold with this convenience while a host of other hip hop acts have dwelled in their own sadness, knowing that the sheer abundance of people means they can be transparent.
When MC Almond Milk steps to the plate, it’s evident that he encompasses both sides of the digital coin and it hasn’t sounded as good as it has on Full Day, Cool Times. The project of James E Scott, Full Day isn’t the young Scot’s first forray into hip-hop but is certainly feels the freshest out of the bunch: as opposed to the old school tidings of his earlier work, James has been up front about his admiration for the likes of Noah “40” Shebib, known for his work with Drake and The Weeknd, and it definitely shows. There’s an undeniable lavishness to all the tracks on display though, everything feeling pretty simple but melodic enough that there’s some depth instrumentally.
It all ties into this “Feng Shui” mantra, one of a few eastern philosophies James drops during the LP, that allows the album to feel cohesive while never feeling too samey. While there’s that lavishness, there’s moments of lo-finess like on Yuptae Dollface which packs in some drab twangy guitars that radiate an Archy Marshall charm to them.
Being a hip hop artist, MC Almond Milk’s words are just as, if not more, important than the beats he surrounds himself with and thankfully this aspect is just as strong. Being a sad internet white boy may be a cliche at this point but James’ work isn’t as 2D as that: 1995 is easily the most impressive track to appear and definitely reeks of Scottish nostalgia though anyone in their 20’s that is prone to reminiscing will find something to relate to. Its narrative progressing in five year intervals, there’s a sense of dread that escalates throughout as responsibilities and worries starts to loom, culminating in an overbearing synth while James self loathing finally bursts through.
This angst and inadequacy is preceded by the aforementioned Yuptae Dollface, a track that retains a bit of humour that helps the LP to not get lost in its own mindset like what happens with other artists: attempts at romance by comparing admiration to jeans and a line about beating a selfie generation with a stick keeps thing light-hearted while not making things tonally deaf.
As the chorus rears its head, James’ delivery goes from confident to hush, anxious whispers, comparing his life to a voyage which is enough to hit this misery point home without banging you over the head with it. Was Swept Away, I Think That Always Happens carries on with this misery on time passing by, all summated by a YouTube comment spoken throughout.
This nihilist viewpoint makes Full Day a pretty hard hitting listen especially for anyone who finds themselves in the same position. Me Irl is the most optimistic out of anything on this LP, finding happiness in making art and being himself though this is balanced out by some warped vocals reiterating James’ worries about “if he stops making music then I’ll die”.
Pics Or It Didn’t Happen closes things off and finishes any chance of a happy ending though, like any good story, keeps things ambiguous: talking of self-care, the cross that James seems to have bared may not have disappeared but it’s starting to get easier to carry. “Open the door and welcome me in” is the last words we hear and whether this is some sort of belief in a higher power or taking care of ones self a step at a time, it’s the lyrical bow on top of a depressing yet beautiful piece of art.