Review: Brymo uses new EP to fight off ‘Libel’ and depression

The reputation of Brymo, born Olawale Ashimi, has never been in doubt when it comes to wit, depth of content as well as consistency. Since announcing entry into the music industry with a feature on ‘Oleku’ and personal single, ‘Ara,’ Brymo has gone on to record not less than seven studio albums, among several other projects. 

Days back, he released an extended play (EP), Libel, which happens to be his second music project for the year 2020 after the April-released ‘Yellow’ album. 

Libel EP is not just a compilation of a few songs from the Lagos-born singer, it appears premeditated – a response to certain life situations. Few weeks after the release of ‘Yellow,’ Brymo was called out for a rape allegation on Twitter. His interview with Joey Akan which was published around that period only seemed to add insult to injury as Brymo admitted to giving in to some lustful desires. 

Reacting, Brymo went on a rant on Twitter about the accusations, denied them and suggested that an investigation was ongoing concerning the issue while claiming he would not forgive the accusers. Although a lawsuit was expected to follow, little legal action trailed the public accusation and Brymo’s social media rage. This is undoubtedly where ‘Libel’ comes from. 

The cover art showcases three elements: a pant with a part of it covered in a pool of blood on a broken glass surface. The elements suggest the defilement of a woman and the consequential shattering of irredeemable integrity as it is difficult to mend a broken a glass. 

Cover art of ‘Libel’ EP

All these ostensibly agree with the background incident to the EP. 

The first track, ‘Ascendancy,’ tells a tale of depression, pain and musical succour. The pain, one would presume, came from the allegation of rape. Despite all, he finds the energy to sing as it provides a channel to drown his sorrows. Part of the lyrics says: “Time was down… heart was down… So, I sing, sing, drown all my pain in the sound.”

On the second track, ‘Love and paradoxes,’ Brymo sings about love. He swore that he would need nobody else and it is the same love who decided his path and set him down to him life.

‘Messiah complexes,’ the third track, opens with a play on words from Brymo. He says: “I’ve been thinking maybe I should stop thinking…” The track marks a break from the pensive, slow-paced beat of the first two, with the singer telling himself to pause for a moment and appreciate the blessings around him. The track particularly witnesses a lot of contrast, which underlines Brymo’s songwriting prowess. He then seeks to make love to forget his worries.

On the other hand, the socio-political tension in the country appears not to bother Brymo as he says that:

“These days I don’t see news … I don’t care if it all burst into flames and all. Just to take flight with the ones I love.”

The third track only proved to be a silver lining as Brymo returns to his pensive, broody self in the final tracks. The beat and the message align to convey: “I have been up and I have been down, lost my way came back around and I have no rest.”

On ‘Time,’ he features Deborah Prest to express loneliness, fears and ineffectual passing of time.

‘Libel’ EP is another testament to the depth in Brymo’s music as he bore out his mind and sought to heal himself from the pain of defamation. The EP impresses more as a musical diary bearing tales of anguish and attempt to escape from such reality than trying to seek commercial success or attention.

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