An 18 year old boy’s bedroom is something of a wonder. If you can get past the strewn pants, unholy stench, crumbling posters and lame bedsheets, there’s a whole new canvas waiting to be coloured with those hormone catalysed thoughts. Kenji, or Matthew Evans, if you’re ready to get personal, bounces off the walls in debut EP ‘I’ll Think of Something Better’, providing a tender insight into the awkward age.
Velvet production lushes over the seven track mini-album, smooth jams breathe an air of cool. Flourished with electronic quirks, Kenji writes as an outsider, spinning the typically cocky perspective of opened mind and soul. Well, Frank Ocean, if you want to take a backseat then we had to move on.
When you’re sat crossed legged on your bed, alone, thinking of all the fun teenage crap you should be doing but aren’t, that’s ‘Surplus’. Baritone croons drift into undecided falsetto ‘I must be stupid for trying this hard’ though gather a brush off attitude with gorgeous fast flowing rap.
Soul spills like an accident with the forgotten glass of juice laid abandoned on the windowsill. Sliding elegantly across large spaces, Kenji’s ‘Pitch Trip’ distorted reflection of a drive home is accompanied by scattered beats. Providing a brief insight into his ‘2am’, the woozy lullaby mutters with a surge of desperation.
Tracks open with characteristic spoken word; brief encounters with others such as ‘Money Mike’, the kid who goes around demanding cash, or moments of soliloquy. These personal touches, with tender keys and airy rhythms allow a quick embrace, before an embarrassed push away and door slam. An instantly regretted confession to a parent.
‘Weird. Oh’ exchanges a conversation with a mate about the latest chick problems ‘She got mad when I asked her a question, which is so unnecessary’. It bounces with a blues rhythm, as an RnB beat crawls from under the sheets, the Philadelphia teen wants to ‘keep it real’ with Netflix and chill. ‘Is it worth it? Is it really worth it?’ on this occasion ‘The answer is yes.’
Honing his own breed of bedroom pop, ‘Chalk’ skitters with playfulness. The hip hop love letter is jubilant with a lashing of cheek. Whilst reflective and repetitive ‘Gain’, features angelic choral.
Subtly sexy, awkwardly flirtatious and unforgettably charismatic. ‘I’ll Think of Something Better’ translates the ball of ache buried deep in the pit of your stomach when you think of the impending doom of adulthood, and the thoughts that niggle in the back of your mind as you try to fall asleep. Who’d have known adolescent wisdom could be so calming?
Words by Tanyel Gumushan