We highly doubt that there are few more aptly named EPs being released right now than that of Alfie Neale‘s If My World Falls Apart. It was recorded with a cohort of collaborators who share Neale’s passion for contemporary soul and jazz, such as James Berkley (of Brighton outfit Yakul) who was brought in for production duties.
Before we dig into the tracks, let’s hear from the artist himself:
“I think the general theme of ‘If My World Falls Apart’ is how we rely on other people. The title track is about how I have grown to realise the importance of having people around me, something I didn’t always appreciate.”
Alright, now for some EP dissection. Opening track ‘If My World Falls Apart’ is a dreamy and slow-paced recording harking back to the storytelling of jazz clubs, filled with smoke curls, whiskey with melted ice cubes and a brooding singer croons words like “I don’t know who I am, / I’d have told you by now if I knew.”
There’s a similar narrative of disassociation from the self throughout following track ‘Elevator’, although its noticeably more uptempo than ‘If My World Falls Apart’. The development that happens around a minute in certainly packs a punch with those kick drum and brass bursts smacking our ears in threes. We especially like the line, “’cause I’ve been sat inside this room so long, Can’t tell between the night time and the day,” which we’re applying to our own condition of self-isolation.
From there, we’re launched into ‘Vices’, arguably the best song on the EP. It’s the most lyrically dense that’s for sure and therefore it helps us to build a vivid image of Neale’s millennial outpouring. This track is all about Neale’s time living with his best friends, who through their choices, whether for good or ill, become a support network for one another. It’s a touching dedication to the power of solid friendship.
Well, looks like we’ve reached the penultimate tune and, my oh my, isn’t it a bop? ‘Alright’ is heavily beat driven with rich jazzy overtones and fronted by Neale’s sing-speak verses. It’s playful and a little bit corny, but that’s pretty fitting for the parody that the songwriter is trying to portray here. As Neale reveals: “You need to take a lot of what I say with a pinch of salt. The song is like the opposite of the story of how me and my girlfriend got together. I’m pretending that I’m some sort of smooth, loving guy when in reality I’m completely not.”
Here we are then, the final track from If My World Falls Apart EP. ‘Stepping Stones’ is a luscious execution of slanting neo-soul and alt-jazz which blossoms into disco rhythms and indie-rock flourishes. It’s no wonder really that this track has already racked up 60k Spotify listeners.
And that concludes our exploration of Alfie Neale’s shiny new EP, which can can (and should) stream below.