MUSIC REVIEW: Etta Bond x Raf Riley Brand New EP "Meds"

etta-large_0 Etta Bond x Raf Riley's 2012 free release Emergency Room was a nice introduction to these two; who seem to be using the collaboration as a way to garner some attention for their respective projects, rather than establishing a new super group. Now that everyone with a webcam is a singer and anyone with garageband is a producer you can’t really blame them!

Before we delve into the music I need to point out how much I love the artwork for the project!  Shout out to illustrator REUBEN DANGOOR!

Meds is clearly made up of two types of tracks. Half of the project see’s Raf take the lead with production as Etta bobs and weaves through various hits and ticks and on the other half we find Etta at the helm crafting melodic stories housed expertly by Mr Riley. Exactly which side you prefer will depend purely on where your tastes lie (put simply; Musician folk you’ll be team Raf and everyone else you’re gonna love Etta’s voice).

Even more so on this project we can clearly hear Etta’s neo-soul influences. She chooses melody that allows her to stay right in her comfort zone, never straying too far from what she knows and does extremely well. It is a little frustrating as a listener as vocally no track really offers anything truly exciting, excitement that you can hear she’s more than capable of stirring. Saying that- it’s hard to fault that tone! Here’s hoping she goes full out on her own album.

Raf has definitely shown a new side to his production this go round. Where Emergency Room housed mainly darker “Drum and bass” influences throughout, we now see him flirt with Calvin style “EDM” on “1 More Time” and Salaam Remi influenced base driven Hip-Hop on “Loophole”. Both of the tracks I just mentioned form 2 thirds of my top 3 from the project leaving me excited for exactly what these two can conjure up when in “album mode” (aka a little corporate direction). One of my other favorites is standout “Supposed to Say Goodbye”. Predictable? Maybe, but I’m a sucker for a good vocal and a some melody. It’s also the track where you see the producer and vocalist most comfortably meet in the middle.

Overall, it’s a great listen. There doesn’t seem to be any clear intent behind the project which could be responsible for the lack of clear “single” but it does leave you hopeful for what’s to come. With the right song I can easily see Etta having a standout Jools Holland moment in 2014 (green hair n’all) and I have absolutely no doubt Raf will have multiple top 10 singles under his belt by the end of next year. So it’s probably best you jump on this bandwagon before all the seats are taken!

Download entire EP here.