ALBUM REVIEW: TOURIST - U
My wife has always been a huge fan of certain artists, and sometimes I just humor her and say "sure, that artist is pretty good," because it makes my life easier to just agree. Tourist was definitely one of those artists where I stupidly didn't trust her relatively impeccable taste. But here I am now, writing a 9.3 review for Tourist, having sacked up and given him a listen. Maybe I should listen to my wife more often. (Don't tell her i told you that.)
Have his chillout soulful beats always been this good and I've been sleeping like Rip Van Winkle? Or is U a step-out into super stardom? Well let's take a little look back into his history before we jump onto this stellar effort. "Tourist, this is your life."
Okay, well after the tiniest bit of research, I've learned that William Phillips (as I like to call him) ain't some one trick pony. After a string of three solid (if not stellar) EPs, he came into the public eye in 2015 after winning the Grammy for song of the goddamn year for co-writing Sam Smith's "Stay With Me." Oh you mean the ACTUAL song of the year, not just the award-bait-chosen one? Like the catchiest, best produced, most overplayed (but still miraculously not sick of it) song of the year? The song that skyrocked Sam Smith past Disclosure as a talent in his own right? Yeah, we can credit Tourist with that. Outside of writing that mamajammer, homie's just been in the studio for the past two years banging out these ten other masterpieces. Let's dig in to a couple of them, huh?
TOURIST - U
The titular track. Oh, eponymy. Are you the best track on the album? Absolutely not, see below. Are you an awesome intro intro a beautiful album -- check please. Are you a pretty spot-on album title? For sure. Got a cool vocal and a cool beat. At the end of the day it's Tourist's singular sound on display, luring you into some stellar stuff to come. Can't ask for more than that in an intro. It's supposed to introduce you to the sounds you're about to hear.
TOURIST - TO HAVE YOU BACK
Okay, here we're getting into the meat. "To Have You Back" is a beautiful minimal beat with some catchy and permanently implanted vocals that lead into that signature chill-out bass sound that's so popular right now. This doesn't sound like anything else on the market, but does take hints from artists Flume and Chet Faker, using that beautiful sub-bass to help you get low.
TOURIST - RUN
Well here's our big lead single. And man is it everything that is good about dance music right now, and none of the bad. We've got fun looping synths, big drums and perfect vocal samples. This song builds and builds and never quits. Tourist keeps adding levels and layers to this tune, turning it into a massive dance floor curveball by the end. "Run" is like the best single M83 forgot to release. Good thing it's Tourist's and no one else's. This music video has so much haunting beauty. Don't we all just want to strip naked in the woods and run carefree to our soulmate while the sun rises?
TOURIST - WAIT
Those garage drums. This whole track is built on these beautiful minimal garage drums with a vocal hook you'd pay for and the heaviest chill out bass womb you could possibly imagine. I want to live in this tune. Okay, maybe I want to live in this tune at an underground warehouse rave, with Tourist performing this live for me like a perpetual loop of some fantastic Purgatory. Glad to see what their live setup looks like, this pretty much guarantees I'll be seeing them next time they come around or at some festival I'm at or maybe fuck it I'll just travel to where they'll be.
TOURIST - WAVES
And Here's the Funky Disco Change-Up. It starts out as a chillout vibey tune like the rest of them, but once the bass kicks in we're not chilling and swaying anymore, we're grooving and moving. God, I sound old. Who cares? Just listen to this awesome song and be happy we live in a world where music like this happens.
TOURIST - TOO LATE
This driving beat with this epic hook, I love the original here, but let's be honest, this is the most re-mixable track on the album. Someone is going to crush this into a tropical house festie or banger, or let someone like Cashmere Cat fuck this up with some truth and we're onto one of the biggest dance floor songs of the year. Just a couple of ideas.
TOURIST - SEPARATE WAYS
This is gonna be one of those late to the game single releases that gives this album a whole second life. (No, not that virtual reality app where you got to make an avatar and live a second life. Look it up. They built WORLDS in there. Tourist should play a set.) This song is the jam with AlunaGeorge drums and an upbeat vocal. This song is gonna bring a whole new bunch of kids onto this album that weren't paying attention now or next week or whatever.
I love this record with all of my heart. Next time my wife tells me about an artist she loves, I'm gonna have to pay attention. Stupid! So stupid! Oh well, I'm on the train now right as it's leaving the station to superstardom. If this isn't the electronic album of the year, color me surprised. This is the emergence of a true talent from chill out bass producer to superstar. U will have the exact same trajectory as Jamie xx's In Color, I guarantee it. If Tourist isn't top billed at festivals next summer ala Chet Faker and Odesza and Flume, I owe each of you five dollars. (This is not a binding bet.)
Check Tourist out somewhere cool...
05.09 - Glasgow, Scotland @ King Tut’s
05.10 - Manchester, England @ Deaf Institute
05.11 - London, England @ XOYO - SOLD OUT
05.12 - Brighton, England @ The Haunt
05.17 - Berlin, Germany @ Berghain
05.20-22 - Gulf Shores, AL @ Hangout Festival
05.25-30 - Lake San Antonio, CA @ Lightning In A Bottle
06.10 - Paris, France @ YOYO (Palais de Tokyo)
06.11-12 - London, England @ Field Day
06.17-20 - Dufur, OR @ What The Festival
06.25-26 - Milan, Italy @ Paradise City Festival
06.30 - Sibiu, Romania @ Airfield Festival
07.02 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands @ Pitch Festival
07.14 - Scranton, PA @ Camp Bisco
07.15-17 - Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
07.14-16 - Scranton, PA @ Camp Bisco
07.22-24 - Oro-Medonte, ON @ WayHome Festival
07.22-24 - Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party
07.24 - New York, NY @ Panorama Festival
08.04 - Charlbury, UK @ Cornbury Park
08.06 - Oxfordshire, UK @ Wilderness Festival
08.10-17 - Budapest, Hungary @ Sziget Festival
08.18-20 - St Pölten, Austria @ FM4 Frequency Festival
08.25 - Sydney, Australia @ Oxford Art Factory - JUST ANNOUNCED
08.26 - Melbourne, Australia @ Howler - JUST ANNOUNCED
09.10 - Isle of Wight, UK @ Bestival
and on the internet:
About Kurt Kroeber
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.