Words by: Dwayne Wilks
Children of Zeus have established themselves as being in a class of their own, and their new album Balance proves that class is permanent.
Heralding from Manchester, Tyler Daley and Konny Kon – collectively known as Children Of Zeus – are known to have fused vintage Soul sounds with traditional Hip-Hop elements to form their own patented brand of Neo-Soul music. In many ways, they could be considered musical compatriots to Anderson. Paak, whose Hip-Hop sensibilities have been a key ingredient in his contributions to the pantheon of legendary Soul music. Their second studio album entitled Balance, is a further exploration of their trademarked silky and intimate sound, an effort that sees the duo strike gold.
As its title promises, the album aims for parity in its explanation of life and love. Jams like the slow-moving and sticky “Nice & Sweet”, and “I Need You”, with its Robert Glasper-esque chords, are offerings typical of their genre. Yet these are offset by the cuts like “No Lovesong” and “Love Again”, displays of resistance to the pressures that come as a result of their lauded position. As ever, Konny Kon’s flat tone and piercing lyrics function as the chaser to Tyler’s intoxicating vocals, their sum somehow even greater than their individual parts. The best case in point being album standout “Cali Dreams”, in which California’s most famous herbal export is employed as muse and vehicle to transport listeners to the clouds.
Title track “Balance”, driven by its indulgent bassline and Akemi Fox’s great hook, sees Tyler and Konny trade introspective verses about seeking balance in life, and in the process remind us what makes Children Of Zeus so special. The ironically titled “The Most Humblest Of All Time, Ever” is a counterweight to the distressed sentiments of “Love Again”, with the one slick flow shared between Konny and Tyler used to leave no doubt that they’re well aware of the praise that their talents warrant.
For all the flighty vocals and holistic subject matter on the album, the typical braggadocio of Hip-Hop’s element is baked in there too, like on self-actualisation jam “Be Someone”. It speaks to the legend that COZ has built for themselves, that lines like Tyler’s “couple real guys could tell you what I was like/Used to carry weight, now I travel light” land like a 16oz glove flush to the jaw.
Travel Light, the duo’s cult-classic debut album was anything but incohesive. Yet Balance manages to come off all the more focused and streamlined. Both individually and as the Children Of Zeus collective, Konny Kon and Tyler Daley have been doing music for the better part of 20 years but are only now receiving the adulation and recognition that they deserve. Travel Light was confirmation that greatness cannot be rushed or hurried. Balance is further proof of that, with a key addition attached to the adage. That is: class is permanent.