The album's opening track, "Small + Lost" (featuring Sinead Harnett), shows Hemsworth as we know him best, buffering his sickly-sweet melodies with exaggerated melodrama. But after a theatrical drop, it simply disappears in a puff of air. Most of the album feels like that; the Metalheadz-y "Happiness & Dreams Forever" and the tragically short "Still Cold" (featuring Baths) are mere trifles. Even more fleshed-out songs like "Avec Vous" and "Yaeko Mitamura Is Lonely" seem slight at first, but actually they're thicker than their gossamer surfaces suggest: packed with layers of smoothly sculpted sound, occasionally melting into a smear of affecting melody.
Made mostly on tour and in airports, Guilt Trips was reportedly an introspective experience for Hemsworth. He accordingly shies away from trendy pastiche, sticking to his own signature set of sounds, though he does throw in some big-ticket pop jams. Haleek Maul & Kitty get an emo-rap canvas for the stunning closer "Day/Night/Sleep System," and young R&B singer Tinashe has a delicate bed of soft percussion and trilling synths for LP highlight "One For Me."
And before you know it, it's over—at just 36 minutes, Guilt Trips doesn't quite tell the full story of Ryan Hemsworth. To get an idea of his impressive grasp of funk and dynamics, not to mention his sense of humour, you'd have to see him DJ. But as an outlet to show off his production skills, Guilt Trips isn't a bad place to start. It's quintessentially him, stuck in the little world he's created. And there are worse places to be than his realm of video games, rap music and pop so sweet it tickles the back of your throat.
Tue / 12 Nov 2013
01. Small + Lost feat. Sinead Harnett
02. Against A Wall feat. Lofty 305
03. Weird Life
04. Still Cold feat. Baths
05. Avec Vous
06. Happiness & Dreams Forever
07. Yaeko Mitamura Is Lonely
08. Ryan Must Be Destroyed
09. One For Me feat. Tinashe
10. Day/Night/Sleep System feat. Haleek Maul and Kitty