REVIEW: Joell – Left On Read

Left On Read feels like a statement of intent as much as it is a showcase of Joell’s talent and ability

I love coming across an artist that’s lowkey that makes me wonder why I’ve never heard of them. If you need one of those right now look no further than Joell. But who is he? Well, Joell is a Scottish singer-songwriter that is all about blending R&B with Trap and Rap elements – well at least that’s the simple explanation. If you need a sonic sound palette to compare it to think somewhere between Travis Scott, 6LACK, and The Weeknd.

“If ‘I Ain’t Good” serves to wake you up to Joell, ‘Out Of Range” lulls you deeper into his sonically diverse world.”

He’s not a total newcomer though, he released a joint EP with Billy Got Waves in 2019 and has also collaborated with fellow Scottish prospect on the rise CHOLOBOCOP. Left on Read is Joell‘s first solo project offering since his 2018 3 track EP Ignorance. The project has an 11 minute run time and the 5 tracks showcase his ability to adapt his sound to any kind of mood. On top of this, it has him flexing his ability as both a vocalist and rapper across the span of the EP.

The short run time of Left On Read is almost certainly down to the circumstances it was made under – lockdown. The project is a curation of both the music the situation inspired but also the mindset it brought about in Joell. As such there are discussions of loneliness, trying to connect with people, and so much more if you’re prepared to seriously take in the lyrical content alongside the infectious production and melodies.

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With such a short EP picking favourites is a difficult task – especially with the quality on display on Left On Read. The two tracks that stand out the most for me are ‘I Ain’t Good’ and ‘Out Of Range’. ‘I Ain’t Good’ kicks the project off with a punchiness that jolts you to attention and immediately alerts you of Joell‘s world. Then ‘Out Of Range’ seems to be the direct counterbalance of that almost chaotic urgency brought on the opening track. It follows a similar structure production wise but the feeling is flipped with more of a focus on an ambient laid back vibe that soothes you into Joell‘s world.

2020 is seemingly the year of talents within the UK from outside of England really making a breakthrough and stamping their places in the scene. Joell will leave a strong impression after this EP similarly to the way Hare Squead did a few years ago with Supernormal and more recently with Superweird. Hopefully Left On Read is just the kickstarter for a long and exciting career for Joell, and with the direction he took the project in I have high hopes.

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