Photo: The Train of Thought
5th Element & DoubleScreen - 2.0
Info: Hailing from Ballymun, Dublin, 5th Element are Ger Kellett and Ryan Lincoln, they are joined by DoubleScreen from neighbouring Glasnevin, on the trios debut album State of Mind 2.0, which is officially released today with an album launch at The Academy on Middle Abbey Street on the 11th of February with support from This Side Up. The album itself hasn't just come out of nowhere, with singles and videos dropping at regular intervals over the past 12 months, including the above single which shares the album's title on these pages almost a year ago.
I was instantly drawn to the hum and frequency of '2.0''s opening 25 seconds back then, and the more I've listened to the track, the more it has resonated with me, it's one of those pieces of music that you know at the very beginning appeals to you, but as time and listens progress, it hits you right in the feels. It's incredibly visual, and Kellett and Lincoln are assertive with the confidence imparted genuinely lifting you inside. When listening to it recently on a bitter cold walk through Dublin city centre early in the morning, it strangely felt like a mini soundtrack to the first moments of the day, still dark, it made perfect sense to me at that point.
5th Element & DoubleScreen - Faces (Trench Road)
Second track 'Faces (Trench Road)' (above) provides a slightly different feel, and while you don't know it just yet, it's a very early hint on the album that you're about to get wide-ranging variety from 5th Element and DoubleScreen by album's end. The overall mellow vibe courtesy of DS is tempered by spurts of controlled anguish from Kellett; 'I'm not trying to play your stupid games, people like you they always talk too much....I'm past the point where I could barely give a fuck, let me explain what I'm trying to convey, this world is like a jungle, have to keep an eye out for the snakes, and those who try to make everything great around them fall and break, cos they're insecure about what they do, constant complaints about the shit they went through, instead of getting up and fighting, they sat down and made a decision to give up and lose'.
On 'False Mercury (Feat. Joni)' we are whisked away to somewhere entirely different, a solid drum and bass number where Lincoln & Kellett excel, slotting perfectly into this 90's inspired throwback that sounds entirely made for them, in full flow and it feels cathartic and hypnotic in equal measure. After the completely out of left field and immensely enjoyable deep house spark of 'Relentless Scutter' we come to another trajectory, the magical 'Heroes (Lame Heart)', it's ethereal and cosmic, a big highlight on the album, you could say this is the point where 5th Element and DoubleScreen absolutely cut their chops, if this track appeared on any international rap album it would be a standout, it's nothing short of perfection.
'Walk With Me' (feat. Bitter Rocc & Zeinab) is a timely reminder of how good the production is on this album, are we already in the midst of one of the best Irish hip-hop albums ever made? Yes, no doubt about it, and this is a debut remember. '00's' sees 5th Element at their most exposed, a justified diary entry on any debut album to the origins of admittedly a pair of young men with much before them still in their twenties. In some ways also, it's worth noting that the video for the track is a welcome snapshot to understanding parts of the rest of the album, shot in biographical style, it summarises their own youth through the youth of today.
5th Element & DoubleScreen - 00's
Their latest video outing which was only released last week comes on top of track 'The Illest (feat. Mango)', a hyper-paced piece that ripples dizzingly courtesy of DoubleScreen, it's pace is rapid and there's a determination to drive home what the trio are all about here as the plonky beats escalate and hammer down. There's no let up in the quality of State of Mind 2.0 as it reaches it's end, 'Dogs' feat. Tebi Rex is arresting and shows there is no let down in the energy no matter how close we get to it's conclusion. A firm personal favourite comes in the shape of 'Veins' (feat. Trom), whilst I'm obviously at this point a big fan of this album, I'm also an admirer of Trom's vocals, a very astute choice to feature on the album, he is a perfect fit who fittingly gives 'Veins' the emotion and feeling it deserves, and lest we forget, DoubleScreen who destroys it in the most gratuitously enjoyable way to wrap up proceedings courtesy of yet another drum and bass extravaganza.
Despite the singles I'd heard over the last year, and how much I'd enjoyed them I was still not prepared for this album in it's entirety. This is Irish hip-hop at it's youthful zenith in terms of early creativity unleashed without giving a single thought about what other people will think of it, and the results are spell-binding on many levels.
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