EP REVIEW | ALEX BENT + the EMPTINESS - VANILLA BLUE

The colourful works from Alex Bent + the Emptiness' past two years are released in full as the Vanilla Blue EP.

 

After two years of dedicated work to create the ideal EP for the musically gifted Alex Bent, we finally get to listen to and enjoy what turned out to be a hell of a project. Vanilla Blue EP is spectacular. The theme is well thought out and arranged accordingly, the production creates the perfect soundscape in each track, and Alex's vocals will leave you with chills. Inspired directly from Frank Ocean's Blonde, this EP will give you similar feelings and will blow you away just as much.

 
 

The album opens up with what is probably Alex's most popular single and the title track of the album, "Vanilla Blue". This song is truly magical, the emotion that is delivered in his performance of this track is so real that you end up feeling the exact same way he does. It is very relatable to those that have been in a relationship with anyone that has been hurt by a loved one before. That person is always going to have trust issues and tends to expect the same treatment in any future relationship. The track has beautiful imagery that contrasts with the theme that leaves you feeling bittersweet.

"Blame Me" was also a well received single that features some high energy production and vocals. There is a struggle of emotion present, a mixture of anger and sincerity that coincides with the balance of the highs and lows in this track. Much like how many fights between couples can be acted out, with spurts of anger usually followed by a mutual understanding and love for one another.

This next track makes for a classic high-school love song that fits alongside the traditional coming of age movies that we all enjoy as a teen trying to figure out our place. "52" is about falling in love for the first time and wanting to run away together forever. "There's no shit like your first love" is so honest and really fits in here. You dream of building a life together and you feel invincible as a couple. Now, when it comes to the next song on the EP, I had strong feelings about it and it instantly brought me back to the first time I heard "Nights" by Frank Ocean. Alex later confirmed to me that he was greatly inspired by Frank Ocean when creating the tracks that were later going to appear on this EP together.

"Gwen Stefani" was the final single released right before the EP dropped and at least in our group, solidified Alex as a stand-out artist in our scene. With assistance from local talent Riley Deacon for creating the video and helping with production throughout this whole EP, the two of them created a fantastic project. This song is the perfect blend of energy of all the songs previous and aids itself as an earworm with the catchy hook that will stick in your head because of the raw emotion behind it. This song spans so many different emotions and phases that you will feel satisfied after you listen to it. Full of ideas about realizing your self-worth and getting yourself out of a situation where you gave your all but didn't receive the same treatment back. Also, look for the clever sample from "Hollaback Girl".

 
 Alex Bent in ELEVEN03's ESSENTIAL HOODIE | Photo by Logan Tanner

Alex Bent in ELEVEN03's ESSENTIAL HOODIE | Photo by Logan Tanner

 

In the second half of the album Alex slows it down a little with "These Days". A darker song about strugglesin a relationship and finding it hard to figure out what you love about the person you are with anymore.

Next up is a short but fun track called "Fiiiiive" with some unreal production and a heavy topic about not reaching the ideas you had as a child growing up. As you grow you realize that time slips pretty quick and you find yourself not having the time to accomplish your goals or to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you. However, as life moves so fast sometimes it is necessary to stop, count to 5, and move on with your life. For "Buckets" I thought it would be cool to get Alex's take on the track. I think it ties up the project perfectly, there is loads of emotion throughout this song and it fits in with the rest of the EP with a relatable theme. So in Alex's words...

‘Buckets’ is a somber end to the project. It’s about unhealthy relationships and how you sometimes find yourself trying to convince yourself things are working when you know they really aren’t.

All in all, this EP was masterfully created as an open letter about love, relationships, and the struggles that come with it Things aren't always a walk in the park and there is a lot of opportunities for things to go sour. From declaring your love for one another to wondering if you even love each other at all. There is always that sense that love is made up and this can all be felt in many other situations, and with many different people, but to believe in love is a true test. Whether it is a tangible thing or not, to many in the world, it is the only real thing they have. Congratulations to Alex and his team, this is an amazing project and without a doubt one of my favourites of the year. 

 

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