Friday Night Rockstar proves that a good producer is as big a part of the act as anyone who’s an actual part of it. A healthy collection of 13 songs that cover a wide patch of musical grass, over a healthy runtime. It never loses momentum, or sight of its goal, which is so illusive that it seems to not even exist at some points. But it does, and it’s fresh, and exciting.
Lewca was born in Brixton. The art school grad now calls Paris his base of operation, working alongside longtime friend and collaborator ‘Son of a Pitch’, S.O.A.P for short. S.O.A.P does the production on this project, the mixing, and the arranging. And he does a fine job of it too.
The album, at its core, is all about humor. Lewca, the man himself even says that it’s a product of his mid-life crisis, and instead of wallowing in existential uncertainty, Lewca drinks, engages with grade A drugs, and makes fun music. The music itself takes a number of influences. Those that Lewca cares to mention include Eminem, The Clash, Tom Waits among others (we have no idea how to connect those dots either), but there is one particular act that I felt their spirits reverberate throughout this release, and it’s Kasabian. Kasabian may have been an influence over the musical or production choices over this album, or it’s just an uncanny resemblance to their blood-pumping, careless, messy, stadium-sized back-alley bangers, or maybe it’s all in my head.
We start things off with Such A Cunt. A strong statement is made right away. The introductory section boasts an unusually compressed drum part, that soon lifts a veil to uncover one if this album’s many hidden faces, Drums n Bass. Cutting a page straight out of Prodigy’s heyday, and sticking it to another one of mild, controllable dubstep, creating a surprising starter. The album maintains momentum with the title track next. Just as inventive and entertaining but in an opposite direction, this cut boasts a classic Rock arrangement. With manic, acted screams, and an intensely humorous guitar riff. The solo in the end is pure adrenaline. Fun, unstructured havoc that called to mind Jimmy Page’s craziest firey blues. The next 2 cuts are colorful, short ones. Harmony Korine is a Jangle in Major, with syrupy, nostalgic lyrics. And A Million Things is comic relief with spiky synths. The singing is far from pretty, but the immense character more than makes up for that. Everyday Struggle is a bluesy highlight. With vintage, overdriven harp in the start and all over the background. The production is nuanced and full of details. Fuzzy layers of guitars, soft walls of synths, and a wailed chorus. The quirky composition takes shape in the second half, taking this song to unprecedented highs. Forget My Name is a paradox. Starting with acoustic guitar and brooding, sad, mumbled lyrics, you might mistake it for a drastic shift in the wrong direction, but what’s fantastic is that it actually is. Showcasing the duo’s great musicianship, this song uses a horn section, a solid composition, and some serious singing to efficiently send a message that they are not jokers, that they are solid musicians who just decide to joke around, making the acute left turn feel like a welcome change of pace rather than a detrimental bold decision.
Incredible starts this album’s second act. With sizzling programmed beats, hot baritone croons, it’s a sleazy pool party banger. The Love Within is another sleazy, synth-based diorama of Kasabian’s party hits, such as I Hear Voices, with a distinct, unique twist. The later half introduces the grittiest bass sound in a syncopated section that contains some rather lewd lyrics. Radio Gigolo starts with a massive, dirty guitar, and a drum part that’s… Reggae? Nonetheless, the fun carelessness persists. Golden God is a rap number over a non-descript glitchy backing. The album ends with Smoke In The Air. Gentle Drum n Bass beats and more of the mellow Dubstep that’s eager not to offend are backing to hot, deep baritone talk-singing. And unexpectedly fitting ending to an unexpectedly sound collection of bizarre sounds.
The massive Kasabian resemblance acted as a solid reference point. Any comparison will fall favorably in both sides of the field, as the likeness does not take a thing away from the individuality of both these artists. But while Kasabian are long-time established Leister Rock legends, Lewca is just starting, making music as a distraction from his 40s mid-life crisis. I can’t think of what he could have accomplished if he had started sooner. Definitely much.