>Review: ‘Bud Sweat and Beers’ by Devlin

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This debut from East London grime rapper Devlin is magnificent. Already his two singles ‘Brainwashed’ and ‘Runway’ have gone into the chart top 50, at 31 and 15 respectively, and the album looks certain to continue his career’s upward trajectory.

Deeply musical, but still seething with all attitude of the grime scene in which he grew up, each song
stands out and takes you on a journey, guides you through a story. It is the depth and musicality that makes ‘Bud Sweat and Beers’ stand out from the usual shouty grime fare. The album is well produced, with layers of strings, synths, and drums supporting the strong vocal delivery. When Devlin combines with female vocalists, the effect of the contrast is devastating, and sublime. Furthermore his collaborations with the likes of Labrinth look likely so send him head first into the mainstream.

Some down sides? Well the religious content of some of the tracks occasionally makes the listener feel like they are being preached at, but this is more than made up for by the social awareness demonstrated throughout the album.  Devlin is a man in touch with the fears and hopes of real people. He is talking about aspiration, and the difficulty in achieving you dreams. He is doing it with some seriously catchy hooks and moving lyrics.

‘My name’s Devlin & I’m just trying to gain entry to your mind‘  he announces on ‘Brainwashed’. VN’s advice is to let him in.

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