For Middle Boop Mag
When an artist is posed with the all-important ‘first album follow-up’ it can be a dubious time for any one involved. Kieren Dickins aka DELS, tore through the British rap scene in 2011 with his debut album Gob, catching the attention of Kwes & Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard. Now, he is back with his sequel, the Black Salad EP.
For this release, DELS has once again teamed up with Kwes, who has provided the production guidance, his input apparent with ‘Bird Milk’, a track that first surfaced in a slightly different incarnation on the Micachu collaboration, the Kwesachu Mixtape Vol. 2.
Black Salad is a pedestal for DELS to showoff, and he has embraced it. Over a whirlwind of eccentric beats, he paints a picture of escape through imaginative rhyme. One inspired couplet from ‘Bird Milk’ goes: “Some say I’m just anxious / I just think I need to eat cheese less.”
This is something of a music rollercoaster, and DELS is definitely in control. The EP offers three instrumental pieces in all, with the title track, ‘Sell-by date’ and closer ‘You live in my Head’. Sell-by date’ is deep and in your face, almost challenging you to take notice, deservedly so. Its choppy and adventurous, neither here nor there, a snapshot into the creative mind of Dickens’.
It seems almost a paradox to use dreamy as a descriptive word for rap music, but with closer, ‘You live in my head’, this is exactly what DELS offers with a subtle piano hook over gentle jazz beats. It could even be described as a love song, one man’s simple tale of lost lust told through Dickins’ unique imagery, “Will I see you again? I had a right laugh, there’s no need to pretend… That you live in my head.”
The EP is a showcase of DELS prolific abilities to conjure up pictures for the listener, despite not being the most technical of rappers on the scene. We can only hope his new full-length due in Early 2013 is comparable to this, meaning it would be something of a injustice if DELS was missed off the prestigious ‘ones to watch’ lists beginning to form for next year.