Wiley – 'The Ascent' album review

The grime originator is in an introspective mood on an album that bridges grime and pop



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Wiley – 'The Ascent'

  • Rated as: 3/5

Second album syndrome? Pah. Try making an LP when you’re an originator of the grime underground, now a decade into your career, who’s revered in the scene for not selling it out with lightweight pop. From the backwards-looking opening, which collages audio from early- career tracks ‘Wot U Call it’ and ‘Ice Rink’, Wiley’s in an introspective mood, musing that ‘I can’t be living off all my past merits’. There are ravey euro-pop-esque beats (‘Lights On'), piano-fringed digi balladry (‘Tomorrow’) and collabs with the likes of Tulisa and Emeli Sandé. But this is still an album that takes time to embrace its creator’s roots. Grime wunderkind Preditah contributes the moody beat of ‘Rubicon’, there’s a slew of the scene’s harder-edged MCs on the jerky distorto-synth beat of ‘Skillzone’ and ‘Chainsaw’ underpins the Eskiboy’s rhymes with a filthy, trap-esque beat. A record that admirably bridges the gap between grime and pop, then. But sadly, one that never quite tips over into greatness.

Watch Wiley's 'Can You Hear Me? (Ayayaya)' video, feat. Skepta, JME and Ms D

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