Review | The Things I Can’t Take With Me EP – Yaya Bey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Even as a collection of ideas than complete songs, Bey still delivers.

Yaya Bey has grown more introspective and reflective. The Things I Can’t Take With Me, borne out of a detour from album recording sessions, is less a collection of songs, but more of an assortment of ingredients that contribute to a gentle overarching atmosphere.

The slow-dancing nature of Bey’s compositions fade in and out of focus but remain omnipresent, relying on a methodical and meticulous diffusion. It’s easy – Bey clearly trusts her observations and textures in their ability to pull a listener without any element of explosion or a climactic centre. The elusion that pervades The Things I Can’t Take With Me is alluring and effortless.

Opening track ‘the root of a thing’ combines a riff that could be found in soft rock with King Krule-wave atmospherics – high-pitched chords, distant electronics and vocals that come in and out before you can grab hold of them. Bey’s repeated “I really really wanna love you” is a particularly affecting utterance, sung with a genuine longing and remorse. Meanwhile, ‘we’ll skate soon’ is the most quaint of the six tracks, and another that sees Bey intricately bring together melancholic electronics with her headlining voice. As ever, it works wonderfully, especially when some minimalist beat-boxing is brought into the mix towards the end of the track

Any moment of overt, persistent groove is saved until the concluding act, and is arguably the strongest track of the EP. Split between one half of a neo-soul groove and another of dreamy Hendrix-esque guitar accompanied with Bey’s vocals, ‘industry love / a protection spell’ is a daring closer mainly because it exits so quietly, drifting away into darkness without announcement.

As such, the fifteen minute stint that The Things I Can’t Take With Me seems to pass you by at a speed that well outpaces its content, and it’s frustrating. Not for reasons of incompleteness, but for the sole desire to have it back and permeating the space in which you find yourself. If anything is for certain, it’s that Bey has executed an EP of overawing delicacy, even if it may take a few listens to properly fall into its spell.

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