STREAM + REVIEW: Active Child ‘Rapor’ EP
In 2011, Pat Grossi smashed his way onto the global music scene with his debut LP under the pseudonym, ACTIVE CHILD. Now after two years of touring and recording, the US based solo artist is back with a new release, and although Rapor is only an EP – it still holds a wealth of beautiful creations and heralds in a new era for the project.
The debut, You Are All I See, was accused of being quite inaccessible due to many dense soundscapes and classically based components within the broad genre of Pop. For it to be truly enjoyed, the album asked the listener to be patient and let every element come together it its own time. Once you got your head around the full thing, it became apparent that all the layers, all the sounds that weaved in and out of each other, were as beautiful as the falsetto styled vocals from Grossi himself.
Now whilst, there were many Pop elements within it, YAAIS, was in essence a very somber and down tempo affair. And that’s where the difference lies between that and Rapor.
This time around, Grossi has taken all that he’s learnt from the last couple of years, as well as his history of classically inspired instrumentation – and thrown them into the mix with a heap more Pop influences. The result is an Synth-Pop inspired EP, that could have easily been brought right out of the 80’s.
Because of this change up in influence and basis in the tracks, it makes the EP instantly accessible and that is the most telling change in between these two releases. It’s still just as layered, just as textured, just as emotionally charged, just as special – but manages to reach out to many that may have off-put by his previous works.
The theme of Rapor is pretty easy to find from the get go, but just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean that it takes anything away from it. Dealing with issues surrounding lost loves, torment and heartache – and when that mixes with that voice and moody synth lines – it’s a lethal combination that manages to break down at any emotional wall a listener builds in their own mind.
With atmospheric harp and string constructions backing the track, the soft guitar lines and whirling synths really have no boundaries – and they are set free to flow in and out between the shining vocals from Grossi. Which can be seen in highlight track ‘Silhouette’ (featuring Ellie Goulding, who covered his previous track ‘Hanging On’) – where all this instrumentation flows between yearning vocals from Grossi and light and airy falsetto of Goulding. Whilst other tracks such as lead single, ‘Subtle’ features danceable 80’s synths, that are deep and dark and mix with subtle bass booms throughout.
Overall, this throwback to the 80’s is something many acts of today attempt to do, but more often than not, they create a complete rip-off of an era that doesn’t exist for a reason anymore. For Active Child, he’s taken the elements that were groundbreaking then and re-imagined them to fit into his own soundscape and to a listener it feels just as fresh as his debut. If anything, he’s thrown us back to when he first emerged onto the scene – bringing back all the fanfare with him.
Rapor EP is out now via Spunk.
Words: Tom Hutchins