The Make Shift E.P. by Beg Friend opens with the standout track, ‘Slow Burner’, starting with a series of beeps before the sample kicks in. The sample is a recording of English actor Laon Maybanke, prominent in the 60s, reading from T.S. Eliot’s play, The Cocktail Party. The music is best be described as minimal electronica, with a surreal pad, sparse beat and unique percussion—an engaging opener.
‘For The Win’ may sound like an optimistic track, but it’s quite the opposite, detailing a doomed relationship. The lyrics allude to losing sight of the best qualities of the person you fell in love with, resulting in the slow decay of the relationship. The music accompanies this subject matter perfectly. A surreal, poppy pad, quite cinematic in nature, with unique percussion and delicate, melancholy vocals.
‘Turning In Her Head’ is my favourite track from this release. The opening deceives you with its sad piano, before quickly turning into a fast-paced, surreal piece of electronic pop music. The chorus is catchy, and the vocals are layered and beautifully delivered. This track reminds me of some of the work of La Roux. It’s an accessible track which never loses its identity.
The last couple of tracks are the best musically. They’re quite similar in style, a blend of folktronica and dream pop, which both feature a pretty melody on acoustic guitar. Again, the lyrics deal with the breakdown of a relationship.
The final track, ‘Make Do’, certainly deserves a mention. Though it’s only one minute and eight seconds in length, it was the track that made the biggest impact on me. It’s contradictory in nature, similar to tracks that came before it, but at the same time, nothing like them. It’s ethereal, almost upbeat, gradually becoming more intense before fading into the unknown.
The Make Shift E.P. seems like a very cathartic release for Beg Friend. While there are moments of overwhelming sadness, there is also an underlying sense of hope towards the end. Music often seems the best medium when dealing with any form of personal struggle. The end result for Beg Friend is well crafted, intimate, and pretty-sounding.
Beg Friend is an incredible artist. He certainly understands how to tell a story in a short space of time, and leave you wanting more. The Make Shift E.P. is an incredible, enjoyable listen clocking in at just over twelve-and-a-half minutes. It’s a shame it’s not longer, but the bar has been set high with this release. The sky is the limit for Beg Friend.
The Make Shift E.P. is available from November 22.