Children Of Zeus – Travel Light
Tyler Daly and Konny Kon's debut album as Children of Zeus is a hard-felt, streetwise blend of hip-hop and soul for the ages.

Children of Zeus have finally gifted us with their debut album, Travel Light. It’s been a long journey in creating this work of art, but on their road to mount Olympus, the Manchester duo have always been destined for greatness. Tyler Daley & Konny Kon met in 2005, whilst on tour in Paris and after more than a decade of perfecting their crafts, they came together for their debut single, “Still Standing”. Released back in 2016, the song served as a landmark opus for them and to this day is considered a UK soul classic.

But this was only a chapter in their illustrious book, which is still being written, with the two dropping their debut EP, The Story So Far, in 2017— a project comprised of tracks made by the duo over the last decade. The tape is a soulful amalgamation of songs that speak on love, perseverance and the ups and downs of urban life. The chemistry of Tyler’s soul-piercing voice and Konny’s heartfelt lyrics were groundbreaking and lead to many of the scene’s tastemakers giving the record critical acclaim.

Children of Zeus took this in their stride and have taken their sound to an even bigger stage with the release of Travel Light: a project which has put them up their with the greats, in terms of r&b and soul coming out of the UK.

The album opens with, “The Story So Far”, named after their previous tape. On this one, the duo tell the tale of their musical journey to date, sitting atop an orchestra of captivating violin stings, warm guitar strums and a head-nodding snare and kick. The next one, “All on You”, features their 0161 family; the up and coming soul star [ K S R ] & the legendary MC DRS, who both bless the jamming neo-soul cut with spirited verses of self-empowerment. There is then a sharp shift with “360”, which makes me scrunch my face. In a good way. The track is a bendy G-Funk love ode, where the two touch on the trials and tribulations of their romantic relationships.

They then go onto talk about a different type of relationship. One where a person becomes too dependent on drugs. On “Slow Down”, Tyler Daley smoothly sings the intro, with a rendition reminiscent of Motown’s golden age. Konny Kon follows this up with a hard-hitting verse, over the trap-tinged breakdown, stating man are telling him to “Turn up, but these days they’ll be lucky if I turn up”. “Hoodman2Manhood” continues the mantra of progression, with Tyler Daley soulfully crooning about his come up in the cold streets of Manny and how he was able to take the straight and narrow path to musical jubilation.

Children of Zeus then beautifully transition into “Kintsugi”, a light and dainty track filled with jazzy keys, which Tyler matches with his honey-glazed vocals, coupled with cutting edge lyrics from Konny. The two speak on Kintsugi, which is “the Japanese method of repairing broken ceramics, by filling the cracks with gold. The art of embracing the imperfect. Instead of throwing away what is broken, the cracks are highlighted and the result is something more beautiful than the original. Don’t give up on what is broken. Rebuild. Create and find beauty within”.

The next one ,”Heart Beat”, is appropriately named, as you feel the song’s 808s deep in your inner being and Tyler’s chocolate sweet voice only serves to make the velvet r&b production, even easier on the ears. Konny Kon then ends the ensemble with a heartfelt spoken word that send vibrations through my soul. We then move into “Fear of a Flat Planet”, featuring a standout vocal performance from Layfullstop on the upbeat stepper. Her cushion soft melody is as soothing as can be, whilst her lyrics are compelling as they speak on a brighter tomorrow.

So far, the project has taken us on a journey through contemporary r&b, hip-hop and soul. But the duo couldn’t leave reggae off the album, with it being a big inspiration on their sound-system ethic. “Hard Work” sees Tyler embody all of these influences, with him delivering a lovers rock ballad for the ages. The impeccable vocal showcases continue with “Sling Shot Riddim”, where legendary soul songstress, Terri Walker, blesses the track with fierce yet measured harmonies, riding the choppy blues chords with a supreme ease.

The last three tracks highlight Children of Zeus’s three distinct styles: On “Respect Mine”, we see the duo displaying their whimsical lyricism, trading bars back and forth over a classic boom-bap rap track, similar to a Nujabes production. They then show their more sincere side on “Daddy’s Car”, where they reminisce over the soul, hip-hop and reggae records, that they both grew up on, whilst riding in their father’s cars.

We then get to the album closer, “Vibrations (Divine Signature)”, which I have to say is my favourite cut from the project. The monumental K15-produced jazz performance, takes me to an alternate universe, with its gospel like nature taking over my spirit. Konny breaks it down perfectly, stating, “high frequency means that you travel light, so get lifted yo, we’ll live gifted”. In essence he summarises the album’s ethos in a nutshell, which is about looking ahead to the future, whilst trying to rid yourself of any accumulated baggage that is harmful to your progress.

 

Written by /
Published /
July 31
Category /
Album Review