– GUERRILLA WARFARE –
Guitar virtuoso and one-seventh of London afrobeat collective KOKOROKO, Oscar Jerome once again branches out on new single Gravitate.
The Norwich-born graduate of a Jazz degree at Trinity College of Music follows a self-titled debut EP (2016) and 2018’s Where Are Your Branches? with a third single from an as-yet undefined third outing.
And like previous singles Do You Really? and Misty Head / Sunny Street, Jerome’s latest offering is a fonky thunderbolt of a track.
As a drummer, it really frustrates me when I struggle to ‘find the 1’ in a song. So it’s particularly annoying when I find that the singer / guitar player of a band is able to find it more easily than I can. Even if that track was actually written by said singer / guitarist.
Gravitate is one of those songs; fellow KOKOROKO-ite Ayo Salawu’s deliberately unpredictable drum line (accented by its off-beat open hi-hats) throwing the listener into turmoil way before Jerome has even addressed the mic.
The minute he does so, however, the whole thing starts to make sweet sensual sense. That warm, idiosyncratic guitar tone of Jerome’s blends beautifully with keys provided by Ezra Collective’s Joe Armon-Jones.
And while Jerome admits that his cosmic-leaning lyrics “probably [have] some physicist… saying ‘You’re chatting shit’” he explains that they often have a deeper meaning.
“A lot of it is a metaphor about self-acceptance and growth. [For example,] growth as a person, coming from a place where you have a slightly more negative view of yourself, or less respect for yourself. It’s also knowing your worth, and that most people around you, who would perhaps not treat you with the respect that you deserve, are probably going through something negative themselves.”
For Oscar Jerome, his ‘worth’ is clear to see.
Gravitate is out now through Caroline International.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
NAILAH BLACKMAN: SWEET AND LOCO
BATTLES: TITANIUM 2 STEP
GRUFF RHYS: PANG!
JAZZMEIA HORN: GREEN EYES
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –