I think its fair to say that if this new video from Joel Compass is even remotely true to life, me and him live very different lives. Quite often, me and my younger brother used to have to go to work with my Dad on a Saturday morning. He worked in a large garage in the middle of Leicester. On a Saturday, he started at 8pm and usually finished about 1pm. They remain, a lot of years later, some of the most boring hours of my life.
On the other hand, 19 year old Joel Compass is from Brixton, not a village in Leicestershire. In the same way that he probably couldn’t identify Rover Metro spark plugs etc at the age of 12, neither had I any experience of guns, or indeed anything illegal. The video that accompanies Compass’s debut track is a dark, and slightly weird slice of black and white storytelling. Its that age old tale of some quality Dad/Son time, only (presuably just before McDonalds) Dad is doing some kind of bank job/assassination, and gets shot and killed, child drags dead father to witch/voodoo woman, witch/etc brings Dad back to life, Dad passes down an important family heirloom (a gun), son not sure, shoots Dad (or did he) Dad dead (or is he) , was it son/a dream/a metaphor. I know, you’ve heard it a million times before. Ahem. But it is a) strange and b) brilliant
In my world, the quality Saturday Son/Dad time meant me either watching him work, or kicking a ball against a wall outside the back for hours. Then we went to my Grandmothers. The only heirloom we got was that he sometimes he let us use his darts in the ‘mess’ (appropriately titled) where a dart board was resplendent on the far wall. On his break he’d make me and my brother a hot chocolate, and sometimes he’d buy us a comic on the way.
One thing we certainly never did was make a track that crosses over between, loosely speaking some kind of electro RnB (think Jamie Woon) and almost a singer-songwriter feel, like Joel Compass has. It has this sort of delicious garage sound bass holds the track together over this sort of ghostly wash. Compass’s voice (I’m resisting any sentence that has en-compass-ing in, but it’s hard – cross your fingers for me) soars over the top, his falsetto tone just right for this slightly smudged electro feeling. It’s already been playlisted on 1Xtra, and on this form, this lad is going to go far.
Those hours in my childhood may not have involved guns, witches and ressurection (indeed it’s likely that Joel Compasses didn’t either) but those cold mornings watching my father work hard in his bay on the cars, with the darts, and my copy of ‘Shoot’ magazine and a hot chocolate. Yeah it was boring, but you know I wouldn’t change it.