LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: (L to R) Sam Hewitt, Jordan Birtles, Lewis Berry, Murray Matravers and Oliver Cassidy of Easy Life pose in the winners room at The NME Awards 2020 at the O2 Academy Brixton on February 12, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

The Ins and Outs of Easy Life

These 5 guys are ready to take over the alternative indie-pop scene.

 

Easy Life is a five-piece, all-male alternative band from rural Leicestershire.

They’ve been around in varying degrees since 2017, when they released their debut single ‘Pockets’, and have since moved to work with Island Records with their 2018 and 2020 releases. Easy Life played at numerous festivals in 2019, including Glastonbury and Leeds Fest. Huge crowds gathered to witness the frontman, Murray Matravers, bare all… literally!

 

 

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london tonight

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The Easy Life boys pride themselves on their rural roots, with Matravers showing the BBC his family farm and the band’s make-shift early rehearsal space in a video made for the BBC’s Sound of 2020.

 

Easy Life came second to British-Jamaican artist Celeste in the BBC’s Sound of 2020 Awards, showing their up-and-coming status as a nameworthy alternative indie-pop band.

Over the last three years, Easy Life has grown as a band. They’ve honed, and developed their sound into what was described by band-members to NME as “your favourite old Jazz record mixed with the dirty wonders of modern production techniques”.

Their old-school Jazz sound definitely shines through when using brass features in catchy, fun tracks such as ‘Pockets’. This track interlinks with the more modern synth sounds, which characterise short instrumental tracks like ‘0520’ on the early and experimental Creature Habits Mixtape (2018).

What everyone seems to be talking about, though, is the 2020 seven-track mixtape, Junk Food. I’ve seen Junk Food labelled as everything from an album of singles, to an EP. The band themselves envisaged Junk Food as a mixtape, highlighting its do-it-yourself, borderline lo-fi ethos.

 


Junk Food marks the start of a new era for Easy Life, discarding the polished, brass-driven sounds from earlier releases and aligning themselves with experimental and post-modern sounds seen more commonly in contemporary RnB from the likes of Tyler, The Creator and Childish Gambino.

 

 

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when it rains, it rains orange juice and pink lemonade

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The new release sees the band explore a multitude of new sounds in homage to various genres, from the punchy clatter of Hip Hop’s drum breaks, to dream pop synths and jangly guitars. With driving themes of heartbreak and existentialism, the woozy pop-rap on tracks like ‘LS6’ could easily be mistaken for the likes of Mac Miller’s posthumous album Circles, whilst the more upbeat tracks like ‘7 Magpies’ show a more playful dive into bedroom pop in the vein of Rex Orange County.

The rough-round-the-edges sound Easy Life explores in ‘Dead Celebrities’ and ‘Earth’ shows a cleverly worked alternative mixtape meant to strike listeners as experimental, yet not sporadic. ‘Dead Celebrities’ uses otherworldly synth sounds grounded in “modern production techniques”, whilst Murray’s shoegaze-Esque vocals give the mixtape an effortless slacker rock vibe. Its roots lie very much in the classic mellow indie we’ve all grown accustomed to, but Junk Food shows it’s not afraid to break the mould and wrap itself around any other sound or genre that catches its eye.

My favourite track from Junk Food is ‘Sangria’; a collaboration with London-based 18-year-old singer Arlo Parks. This dreamy, chill track employs rich RnB production, with Parks’ soft, melodic tone cutting through Matravers’ blockier, almost mechanical vocals.

I can’t help but feel like it shouldn’t work – but it does – and it creates a palpably vibey track. Matravers’ lyrics hint at the all-too-familiar miscommunication between lovers and the human vulnerability in becoming involved with a significant other. This further heightens the mainstream appeal and relatability of Easy Life’s all-new angsty streak.
Other moments in the track indirectly lament on past or lost love, with Parks’ third verse lyric, ‘Remember when you brought me marigolds and wine/I put your shirt on when we kissed to pass the time’, reflecting on a once blossoming romance.

What stands out to me is that ‘Sangria’ is clearly a love song, yet it doesn’t go out of its way to sound like one. Instead, Matravers’ raspy delivery does it’s best to shrug off his tangible heartache, serenading the listener with a brief, dignified sadness.

So, Easy Life has definitely gained themselves a high profile for 2020, and I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see where they go after the pandemic subsides. Let’s hope that “2020 is gonna be a big year for Junk Food” as the band’s website suggests. I look forward to seeing what comes next!

 

 

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