Subconscious Culture is taking you on a round trip through the tracks of What Separates Us. With music that transports you between moments in time, the band explores different melodic styles as well. Delving into the deep roots of hip-hop before traversing the smoothness of soul and jazz, the album has a little something for everyone.
From the brain of Erin Miller, the band uses unrelenting lyrics and masterful instrumentation to explore the issues that affect society. Focusing on authentic sounds, the band offers an organic experience that avoids over-editing and anything artificial. Touching on issues and experiences that are relatable, they create an immersive listening experience.
The album introduces itself to listeners through the aptly titled ‘Intro’. The single rolls into your ears like a distant thunderstorm slowly making its way toward you. The piano line is an organic call in the pattering of the rain and fills you with the easy feeling of a day spent listening to the rain fall. The horns bring an edge of discord that throws the peaceful vibes out of the window. It is a very interesting open to the album.
‘Find Your Way’ completely changes the vibe of the album with the hit of hip-hop vocals. While the vocals have a serious hip-hop vibe the melody has a soulful funky feeling. The chorus picks up the soulful flows of the music and turns the pace of the verses to a smooth melodic ride. The movement from the hip-hop vocals to the smooth chorus is wonderful and creates an interesting texture to the track. You are going to find your head bopping to the verses before you sway to the chorus. The texture of the single allows the messaging of the track to hit harder as you move down the soundscape.
The music swings again for ‘Concerning Karen’ that draws you in with a really create warbling opening. The harmonised vocals in the opening are amazing and utterly addictive. The vocals are absolutely wonderful as they bring a theatrical pulse to the song. You can’t help but get caught up in the song and want to play it over and over. As the title suggests, the lyrics take on the Karen’s of the world. The darkness of the vocals at times gnaw at your senses while acting as a sarcastic narrator of the facts. This is an amazing song that is so different to what you might hear right now.
‘Impermanence’ gives you a moment to breathe after the hits of the last track. The rap brings back the roots of hip-hop to your ears and works through truly poetic lyrics. This turns into a soulful flow on the chorus that brings a touch of hopelessness or resignation to your ears. There is a really rich feeling to the music that is empowered by the depths of the vocals. While the track has a serious feeling of hopelessness, this does turn later for a glimmer of hope. The strings and piano turn your gaze to the rays of light reaching over the horizon promising something a bit better.
The next track is ‘Pieces of Me’ which uses a very light opening to pull you. The opening verse has some serious questions that build in your chest and threaten to burst out. This movement is echoed in the vocals as the rap builds with power and threaten to shout at any moment. The chorus is an RnB hit of soulful grooves that settles over the rough edges the rap has unveiled. The movement between rap and melodic flow is amazing in this track and really showcases the musicality of the band. It is worth taking a good listen to the lyrics because there is a lot packed into them that we should all take note of. From aggressive despair and the urge to tear unjust systems down to the pained call for understanding, the song tugs at your heart.
‘Something Between Us’ has a rather laid-back feeling to the opening as you ride the bluesy guitar. The vocals are interesting as they perfectly blend rap and blues grooves for a soft and smooth flow. The horns in the melody rise from the depths to add to the richness of the soundscape and have you floating on the sounds of the track. The chorus is really catchy and you are going to have it stuck in your head for a while. The bluesy low layers of the melody take on a jazzy vibe that is absolutely wonderful. There is something about this song that seems to bridge the genres of the band’s sound with an addictive flow.
The title track ‘What Separates Us’ pounds against your chest with a beat that has your head bopping. The rap lays out all the things that separate us while questioning why this happens. As the lyrics lay this all out, they also push against those who will separate us and encourage the divisions. The theatrical vibes of the first tracks of the album comes back on the chorus of this track. You can easily see the chorus as part of a musical with dramatic lighting. As you listen to this track, you will question the divisions in the world and feel the urge to unite everyone instead.
The album comes to a close with the bluesy tones of ‘World of Illusion’. There is a really groovy vibe to this song that comes through the piano and beats that perfectly meet. Through the track, the band opens your eyes to the truth of the world and the illusions that are created by others. There is a serious message wrapped into the extremely engaging flow of the track. The sentiment expressed at the start of the album comes around for this one to create a full circle.
Subconscious Culture uses an addictive mixture of hip-hop vocals, soulful choruses and flowing melodies to tackle the serious issues in the world in What Separates Us. The album touches on a lot of issues in the world from Karen’s causing problems to feeling like you are stuck in your situation. Through all of this, there is a sense that you are not alone and that something can be done to make the world better if we understand what separates us.