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It’s 2016 and Urthboy still isn’t slowing down, and his fifth studio album is here as proof that he’s still got it. The Past Beats Inside Me Like A Second Heartbeat is equal parts politically charged and a loving father’s ode to his daughter.
Sick of today’s political and social inequality? You’re not the only one, Urthboy spits his frustration on behalf of millions in The Past Beats Inside Me
This time around Urthboy pulls a number of excellent features out of his pocket who are primarily independent Sydney artists. In a time of Mike Baird and Keep Sydney Open, supporting local acts is very important in banding together and strengthening our scene. It also fits very well with Urthboy’s very NSW-centric lyrics, dropping lines about the Blue Mountains, Lakemba and housing development in Potts Point. It’s also great to see a male veteran in the Australian scene giving so many (mostly young) female acts such a platform to express themselves.
This feminism seeps through in the track Little Girl’s Dad which is a song directed to his young daughter which apologises that she’s inherited a man’s world and that it’s now her “World to take back”. You can tell he’s a great dad when there’s empowering lines like “Say whatever you think, that’s your right” and “When they try and push you to the side, push ‘em right back.” Yet despite the great message preached, this is one of the weaker songs on the album. The chorus is a bit cheesy for my liking, and the underlying music is just some bouncy piano chords over a pretty basic drum beat.
If you’re looking for great production, head to a song like Rubble of the Past which contains a massive build up with crashing drums and a really sweet but eerie feature sung by Montaigne that suddenly cuts out for Urthboy to spit an aggressive line over silence; it shows he means business.
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Or there’s Running Into the Flames which contains the most solid beats on the album whilst showing off Urthboy’s attitude and rhythmic skills. I love the hype at the start and end of the chorus in this song, but it turns into another disappointing moment that makes me think that maybe he should leave singing up to feature artists. Sydney rapper B Wise almost steals the show on this one with all his energy and ability to alter his rhythm after almost every few lines.
My favourite on the album is probably the tune Hey Juanita which is one of the more politically charged tracks. It’s about Juanita Neilson who was a journalist and anti-development activist who disappeared under suspicious circumstances in 1975. This song really shows off Urthboy’s ability to be a storyteller while still producing some great music full of percussion and heavy horn lines.
Overall, The Past Beats Inside Me Like A Second Heartbeat is a great album that at times is really surprising. There were times the kick drum was a little loud in the mix and towards the end there were a few weak moments. But otherwise it’s a more than enjoyable listen, full of superb feature artists, excellent production and sick rapping by one of Australia’s best.