Leicester five-piece, Easy Life, have unveiled their anticipated debut album, Life’s a Beach, which sees them covering relevant topics such as mental health and life in the modern age.
Photo credit: Press
The highly anticipated debut from alternative R&B group, Easy Life, is finally upon us, playing around with subject matter concerning the deeper meaning of life, the act of falling in and out of relationships, mental health and living in modern day society, that are evident from the first glance at the official album artwork that conveys a car half submerged in the ocean. It’s already seemingly morbid, however, it is unclear whether the car is going to continue to sink deep, deep down, or whether it will extraordinarily rise up out of the blue, and make it back to the shore, potentially leaving it up to the listener to decide for themselves, straight away cementing the album artwork as a relatively suitable overview of what to expect from the thirty-five minute collection. On the surface, there are a lot of ocean and beach metaphors, and some pretty captivating observations of mental health in the 21st century, paired with words of wisdom for anyone that also finds themselves struggling, and wondering if they’re going to make it out of this, just like the image of the blue car that floats proudly on the front cover.
Album opener, A Message To Myself, is potentially a questionable choice for a lead single, considering most Easy Life tracks that roamed before it ran along the themes of toxic relationships and nights out, however, its main message is a pretty apt one, reminding the listener, and frontman, Murray Matravers, himself, to always be yourself and not overthink everything, something that is really important in general, but especially during a period as challenging as right now. The fact that this opening is a celebration of individuality (“just be yourself, nobody can do you better”), and evokes us to remain as positive as possible (“stay hopeful”), shows how Easy Life are a band who strive to use their platform with good intentions, promoting the importance of self-love and the power of a positive mindset.
Have A Great Day is one of many tracks on Life’s A Beach that has a really feel-good vibe, leading on nicely from the upbeat and optimistic beginner, with its laid back, relatable lyrics such as, “Life’s a beach and life’s a bitch” and “don’t let the seagulls steal your chips”, that help to prove Matravers a really likeable frontman who speaks for the people with his incredibly mundane, yet in every inch clever way. With its seamless transitions, the album progresses into the vocals reminiscent of Powfu’s Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head) that line Ocean View, a track that has been lifted from Emilia Ali’s beautiful track, Loved The Ocean, sped up and inherited a funky beat. If you’re not familiar with Emilia’s original, I urge you to go and check it out this instant. It’s achingly emotional, and completely stripped down, vulnerable, with just a singular acoustic guitar leading the way (also, the line “I thought you loved me” breaks me every. single. time). Both tracks are obviously very very different, but I really love what Easy Life have done with this sample, and how they have very much made it unapologetically them, switching up the track both sonically, but also swapping out some of the painfully honest lyrics that Ali previously penned, for Matravers’s defining unfiltered way with words.
Again, with a helping hand from smooth transitions, pop heavy track, Skeletons, is introduced, with its jazzy, electronic tones and really catchy lyrics (the term “skeletons” is repeated after every line for the track in its entirety), encapsulating the feelings of anxiety one experiences when finding themselves with a new lover. In relation to this is Daydreams, a song filled to the brim with poppy resonance, taking on a bit more of a light-hearted and relaxed theme and presenting as quite a sweet song.
Life’s A Beach (Interlude) offers a thirty second break from the pop-tacular first half of the album, before leading into Living Strange, a number that is arguably the most important and striking within the collection, touching on depression and suicidal thoughts, but when paired with an upbeat, cheerful backing track, the heavy and intense lyricism are made a much easier pill to swallow, before evolving into Compliments, a much breezier and light-hearted track about a relationship that is practically doomed, to the point where the act of conversation just isn’t cutting it like it used to.
Lifeboat, in true Easy Life style, is really natural, boasting its conversational and mundane lyrics (“Thanks for coming ‘round for dinner, folding up my sofa bed”), whilst Nightmares, a true fan favourite, offers sombre lyrics layered over the top of laid-back beats in order to cover up the bona fide seriousness and emotions of the track. Just like earlier track, Living Strange, the sun-drenched instrumentals soften the blow of the underlying, deeper meanings of the Matravers’s lyricism, and really adds to the impact of the lines, “No-one gives a f*ck about my nightmares” and “it’s all a bit of fun until somebody gets hurt”, touching on suicidal thoughts, and the stigma around mental health that unfortunately still remains in society, despite beginning to improve. This number is probably one of the saddest songs that occupies Easy Life’s discography, but it sounds so happy, intentionally opposing to album-mate Daydreams.
On a slightly happier note, but still not quite euphoric and serotonin induced, is Homesickness, a sweet and romantic tune about missing your significant other whilst apart for an extended period of time, causing even the seaside scenery to lose its appeal. This is a number that presents some pretty cute lines such as, “You’re the only thing I get up early for” and “If I could catch the moon and stars and pull them closer just for you, then I would”, but also some particularly cheeky lines (“Switch on me like Nintendo”) that only a frontman like Murray Matravers could get away with.
Album closer, Music To Walk Home To, is an unexpected, improvised spoken word piece, conveying a stream of consciousness that documents a chaotic stroll home from a boozy night out, creating a clever ending to the band’s first full length, with its charismatic and really quite random lyrics (“Two blokes dressed up as bananas join the party”, “A vampire vacuuming up every last drop of my enthusiasm until I am nothing but a sorry little raisin/Bananas and raisins/I sure hope I have toast at home”).
In a strange way, Life’s A Beach feels familiar and comforting, courtesy of its natural lyrics, a skill that Easy Life can proudly boast as a strength, and Murray’s vocals that often jump between rap and spoken word, to soft and smooth singing, help to provide a really defining sound for the Leicester indie band, making you feel at ease and as if you are not alone because he has been there, done that and lives to tell the story, establishing Matravers’s approachable persona.
Noticeably, the LP has two halves to it – the first being light-hearted upbeat tracks concerned with daydreaming, blossoming relationships and sunny metaphors about the romanticisation of the seaside, before the interlude flips them on their head, leading to juxtaposing tracks about nightmares, poor mental health and depressive episodes, and relationships turned sour, presenting the contrasting idea of expectations and reality.
Life’s a Beach is the perfect album to fuel your summer, with its fast-paced tracks that freely flow into each other, and experimental, yet still so recognisably Easy Life, sounds, offering up a chilled out, candid and incredibly refreshing vibe. On the surface, it’s fun, playful and perfect for a heatwave, however, on closer inspection, it holds a much deeper sentiment. I’m excited to see where Easy Life are heading next, following this scorcher of a debut.