Mura Masa could have played things safe. It feels like only yesterday that everyone was throwing shapes and limbs in the air to the punchy beats and chimes of his self-titled debut album, a collection that practically captured a moment in time for dance/electronica and hip-hop production. A club-filled weapon that paid homage to the late nights and sounds Mura Masa dreamed of and finally experienced after moving from Guernsey, it laid out a sound so distinctive that an open goal would be to simply click repeat and go again. It’s why ‘R.Y.C’ is even more of a spectacular body of work, turning away from the open goal and birthing something altogether more important and conceptual.
Fusing together an almost endless array of influences and genres, ‘R.Y.C’ is the sound of an artist evolving from the beats and sounds of the past. The visceral punk immediacy of ‘Deal Wiv It’ (with a show-stealing appearance from slowthai to boot), the technicolour Parisian pop of ‘Live Like We’re Dancing’ (finding Georgia in full flight) and the scuzzy riptide of ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again’ (with added Clairo). They form the basis of an album that shifts and jumps at every opportunity, built around a tight sound that feels like stepping out into the bright daylight after a long night in an underground club. At times it’s buoyantly defiant (‘Vicarious Living’), at times it feels like the inside of a mind dazed and confused (‘No Hope Generation’) and at times it does both (‘Teenage Headache Dreams’ soaring with an almost M83-like eruption as Ellie from Wolf Alice duets with stunning results). Its diverse flairs are held together by the jaw-dropping worlds Mura Masa creates around it all, a bible of a generation still working out its future whilst learning to deal with its past.
It points to an album which finds Mura Masa coming of age. Once again delivering an album that captures a sound unique of his own, every element ties together to form a body of work that deserves to be played over and over again. By not playing it safe, Mura Masa has set the bar for the decade ahead - one that is destined to be soundtracked not only by him, but a world of artists who’ll use ‘R.Y.C’ as their blueprint.