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Album Review: “Blanket” by Kevin Abstract

The Brockhampton frontman pivots to an indie-rock sound.
Kevin Abstract’s newest solo album doesnt have enough information to be interesting.
Image by Morgan La Casse
Kevin Abstract’s newest solo album doesn’t have enough information to be interesting.

Kevin Abstract’s newest solo album, “Blanket,” has significant influences from alternative and indie rock but doesn’t have enough character to make it interesting.

After the dissolution of “rap boy band” Brockhampton, the former figurehead of the group switched gears. He relies heavily on guitars to drive the tracks instead of his typical R&B-pop sound.

This is not Abstract’s first time releasing music in an indie-rock vein. His 2016 breakout album “American Boyfriend” mixed atmospheric dream-pop with rap and R&B. This sound appeared occasionally throughout Brockhampton’s SATURATION trilogy as well. Even “Peach” off of Abstract’s 2019 album “Arizona Baby” has an indie-folk influence, while the rest of the album has more of a Southern rap sound.

“Blanket,” however, sounds as if Alex G was produced by Max Martin.

Former Brockhampton producer Romil Hemnani keeps the production of the album tight-knit. The guitars are clear and present in the mix but the drums are extremely compressed, making the record sound stiff and lifeless at times.

Even on heavier cuts like the title track, “Blanket,” every part feels meticulously planned out, losing any sort of edge it attempts to create.

The album does have its moments scattered throughout the songs. “Running Out” features a sludgy, distorted bassline accompanied by hard-hitting drums and the occasional thin synth line to fill out the track.

“Mr. Edwards” is a 50-second interlude that sounds like it is about to blow out the speakers with how distorted the drums and bass are. It has the potential to be enthusiastic and high-energy until it slowly fizzles out into nothing.

“Real 2 Me” features auto-tuned vocals and upbeat drums on top of an acoustic guitar processed to sound almost synth-like. It offers a glance into what Hemnani and Abstract have to offer as musicians and is overall an enjoyable pop tune.

Most of the personality on “Blanket” is found in the vocals. Kevin switches up his style of singing across the album. His voice throughout the songs “Heights, Spiders, and the Dark” and “Today I Gave Up” sounds slightly pitched up. “Running Out” features a heavily processed, double-layered vocal that offers a unique spin to the song.

However, the album feels like it is playing it safe. An entire album of alternative-rock songs by a pop rapper could have been innovative, but Abstract’s past experimentation with a wide array of styles makes this project feel stale in comparison.

That being said, Abstract’s ear for catchy pop melodies still holds true in this collection of songs. The songs are well put together for what they are, but there is room for more novelty throughout the project.

Compared to the days when Abstract used his music as a form of creative self-expression, “Blanket” feels uninspired and doesn’t have much to say.

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