I think I might have broken the cardinal rule of music criticism on this one: going into an EP with a subjective conclusion. I knew I was going to like this EP before I had even heard the first note. The Night Slugs crew have a great m.o at their core, which as always resonated well with me. A minimalist aesthetic and a dance-focussed raison d’être make for an infectious combination, and I had no doubt that Bok Bok would maintain this formula for his new EP, Your Charizmatic Self. As a founding father of the label, he would certainly have to toe the proverbial line for this latest release. It took the UK artist three years to follow up from his highly successful Southside EP, and damn, was it worth the wait.
After being introduced to Melba’s Call a couple of months ago, I was under the impression that this might have been the precursor to an album, but was quite delighted to discover Bok Bok has stuck to an easily digestible package in the form of an EP. This also meant that there isn’t a single moment of self-indulgence to be found on Your Charizmatic Self, as it’s purpose is made abundantly clear from its start. It’s packed with more of the same Night Slugs idiosyncrasies we’ve come to expect, but there also seems to be a definite progression into more accessible territories through tracks like Melba’s Call and Howard. The latter uses a brassy synth to strut out a major chord progression, while that all-important bass-end moves everything along. It’s an instantly enjoyable track, and the ‘oh baby’ sample definitely sticks in the same way that Kalela’s crooning got us hooked on Melba’s Call.
At this point, I would like to ask die-hard Bok-Bok fans to remain calm and refrain from burning their beloved Night Slugs merchandise for this certainly isn’t a venture into more commercial prospects for the artist. Although there are a few more vocal samples and the odd pop formulated chord progression, it is still a Bok Bok EP through and through. That Night Slugs sound is still at its core, and it’s consummated with tracks like Greenhouse and Da Foxtrot. Noise and silence share an equal footing as a minimalist approach dances it’s way through elements of Grime and classic Electro. Stuttering beats and staccato synths are what Bok Bok is all about after all and this EP is no different, even if some tracks are more commercially viable.
I am going to suggest something here, which might be a bit over-inflated and will probably upset a few people. I believe this EP is Michael Jackson’s Dangerous for the Boiler Room generation. It’s easy to bop your head to and features many memorable hooks. It certainly defines a prominent sound for our time and especially 2014. Granted it’s an EP, but who has time for an album these days with so many videos of cats burning a sizeable hole in your free time, which brings me back to my opening statement. Yes, this might be a subjective review, but I have yet to witness music critics uphold a truly objective view. So, before you take my word for it, listen to it yourself, but make sure you do listen to it.