As expected, lyrics are the focus throughout the seven track EP. The surprise might be the musicality of the tracks. Interesting and varied beds of music complement the rapidly delivered lines rather than pulling focus away from them.
Fictional Clientele’s second track, Conflicted, probably sums up the EP’s lyrical content. Each song’s main character is alternately cast as a “lone wolf”, “outcast” and “loner”, or a “don” and “the best”. At times it’s a heavy listen with topics including breaking relationships, family life, religion and mental health.
Where it’s personal, it’s brutally honest and sincere. In Conflicted he confesses, “there’s a pool of regret and I’m swimming in it”. New Devil tackles religion head on, while Seb’s hints at violence and peer pressure with the almost threatening line, “just chill the fuck out, you won’t get caught, just keep a fucking look out”.
Fictional Clientele isn’t without humour though, as the excellently titled Bears, Beets and Battlestar throws a tip of the cap to Dwight K. Schrute from the American version of The Office.
Musically Jack Bashful sets himself out from the pack and shows the lone wolf claims aren’t totally unfounded. More traditional R&B beats are filled out with orchestral string layers in New Devil and Conflicted, jazzy lounge piano in Seb’s and New Orleans style trumpets in Bears, Beets and Battlestar, making the EP a really interesting listen.
The fusing of varying styles together on one release is maybe a brave move, but everything is tied together by Jack Bashful’s passionate and often cutting lyrics. It might take a listen or to for this one to sink in, but you’ll be glad when it does.