Release Date: Sep 18, 2020
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Alternative Dance, Alternative R&B, Left-Field Rap
Paul Epworth is in a novel position where everyone has heard tracks that he's produced, but few have heard of him, and even fewer could recognise his artistic fingerprints on a track. From the poppy electronica of Friendly Fires, to the bluesy stomp that characterises Adele's Rolling In The Deep, to Maxïmo Park's driving post-punk, Epworth's versatility leaves a completely blank slate of expectations for this, his debut solo album. What we get is an amalgamation of modern styles - some house, some trap, some mid-tempo disco - and tunes that are poppy without seeming all that concerned about tight, stream-friendly structures, plus an assortment of vocal guests whose performances are of varying quality.
On paper, 'Voyager' is a lot. Renowned producer Paul Epworth, a gaggle of similarly-celebrated musical names, a big, overarching concept about space in the vein of '70s sci-fi - it's the kind of thing West End musicals are made of, right? Except in reality, it's a lot of… well, not much; a studio folly of sorts, (unsurprisingly) impeccable in sound but meandering without direction for the most part. And where, say, fellow magpies Gorillaz integrate their guests' styles with mostly wild success, often the turns here feel like basic seasoning, as the tracks blend into each other.