Album Review: Brymo – Klitoris – Since his contentious split from former label, Chocolate City, Brymo has battled the demons within, conquered, and delivered music that even angels would gaze upon with envy from their pious heights. He has done this in the form of two excellent discs — Merchants, Dealers and Slaves and Tabula Rasa — each one more superior than the last.
For the former, no one really saw it coming. His sophomore album- and first with Choc City, Son of a Kapenta,- in spite of promotion by Choc City, came with its edges but was by and large an establishment record lacking any real bite. M, D& S arrived in the thick of his protracted row with Choc City and its near-perfect songs of regret and longing completely reinvented Brymo while setting him aside from his peers as a man willing to be bruised for his art.
If M, D & S was a fluke, then Tabula Rasa wiped the slate clean and rewrote the rules for how to follow up an excellent record. There was nary a misplaced step as Brymo built on previous efforts to create what may be well be his defining masterpiece.
Klitoris, his fifth studio album arrives at a stage of Brymo’s career where he isn’t quite the underdog anymore and is therefore expected to deliver big when it comes to quality records that speak both to the soul and to the times they exist in. If there are any whispers of disappointment at the recent roll out of Klitoris, then it is only because the name Brymo is now synonymous with the highest standards and so has been placed on a form of pedestal where every record he records has to be suitably perfect. And don’t blame those who do that, it’s the price of genius.
Klitoris is a damn fine record, maybe an excellent one. We know Brymo can do brooding, and he can do troubled, but this time, we see a fresh side to Brymo, the happy go lucky fellow, one who just wants to live and let live.
This Brymo is present particularly on the churchy, throwback feel of Something Good Is Happening. He’s welcomed a baby with his partner, his record label troubles seem to be over for good and he is beginning to settle into that space where he can amass for himself, true blue fans that will go to battle with him no matter what. It is only natural that his music begins to reflect this. He has nothing but good vibes to share on the positive pleading Happy Memories.
When one is happy, love comes next, and on Klitoris, Brymo knows how to play the lover too. Let’s Make Love is an urgent, sweaty slice of lovers rock while Naked (featuring Esse) speaks to the kind of all-consuming love that burns and leaves nothing behind.
Because this is a Brymo record, the aims at abstraction and reach for artistic ambiguity make an appearance and this is not limited to the questionable choice of art for the cover of the record. Mirage is a song about nothing and everything really, a blank slate where each listener writes their own comprehension.
Brymo has been known to trap the plight and struggle of the common man in an Afrobeat bottle on Tabula Rasa’s singular highlight, One Pound and he returns to those influences to mine material for Alajo Shomolu, a nod to the famed thrift collectors of old Shomolu market. He also dares to hope for something better on the lush, stately Billion Naira Dream. The folksy Ko S’aya Mi and Dem Dey Go are a fine showcase of his stellar song writing skills.
No two songs on Klitoris are quite similar and Brymo confidently stretches himself across a range of sounds and indulgences. The mixing, composition and finish on the album is indeed second to none and one leaves the record instantly itching to relive the experience all over again. There can be no higher praise than that.