I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep sounds like the listener has dived into the mind of a man sitting in a candle lit room, drink in hand, plagued by psychosis-like thoughts.
London-based artist Obaro Ejimiwe has returned, with an album whose title tells us much about what we are about to hear. Every song has the same feelings of dread. As the record opens with ‘Breaking Cover’ we are eased in with a cool bass and ominous electronic sounds, until we hear a calm voice arrive with the philosophical, introspective thoughts of a man breaking his own cover; “It’s getting kinda complex these days / I don’t fear you anymore / but my back breaks under the weight / too late”.
The numbness towards society norms are evident throughout, but no more so than on ‘Concrete Pony’ where we hear whispers of, “There is nothing,” before being nudged awake to the nothingness of our existence by a social commentary on the empty repetitiveness of it all; “Oh yeah / oh yeah”.
The lyric, “Once again the happy pills ain’t doing shit,” on ‘Humana Second Hand’ could explain the feeling of almost every song on the album. The man is growing bored of a monotonous life, where the only fear he has is VAT and taxes – definitely not alone there! – he asks the question, almost as if seeking counsel from a confession booth, “What becomes of me?” The same as everyone else. You pay your taxes.
‘Black Dog Got Silver Eyes’ is where the potential for psychosis is most prominent; “I can’t stay / this place isn’t a paradise to me.” Ejimiwe has strapped us in, eyes forced open like A Clockwork Orange's aversion therapy, made to watch his haunted mind play out a battle of his self-destructive thoughts, continuously spiralling towards annihilation.
As we start to feel like we know what to expect from IGTBDNFA, we are met by ‘Rats In A Sack’. Exploring the topic of Brexit with lyrics like, “Far right on the jukebox,” we're given a vivid image of who is currently in control of our society's playlist. Another song that pauses the pure desolation is ‘Social Lacerations’, about the disillusion of celebrity; “Pick out my bones, I won’t need them neither / Selfie away, make sure you use all the filters.”
'Nowhere To Hide Now' is for me the standout on the album. An electric guitar shrieks, followed by the most Halloween-esque of instruments - the organ - triggering a change in tone, shifting the focus from society to a more primal sexual desire. Hitting us with snappy lines, and catchy lyrics, it's a welcome change of energy on the record and you can’t help but sing along. “We hold the keys / We turning these locks together / You walk these dark streets alone / I stick to shadows forever.” Do not miss this track!
I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep communicates a clear tone. Ejimiwe has produced an album of stark beats, riffs, haunting vocals and eerie sounds. An overarching theme paves the way into his deepest introspection. Creaking open the door and inviting us into his haunted mansion of thought, we explore his cerebral psychosis through accomplished lyricism.