“A lot of us know we’re fucked, but we’re going to have fun with it anyway.” That’s how Franco Bolleurs (aks An Awkward Social) likes to describe his latest album, Fourteen.
The Pretoria-hailing artist and producer has delivered one of the most captivating and bizarre electronic albums I’ve ever heard – and it might be early days but this 14-track whopper is high on my list as one of the best I’ve gotten my hands on this year.
His trademark rasping, almost-flatline vocals wrap themselves around dark, visceral lyricism – while the piano and synth-soaked counter melodies sweep through a 1980’s-inspired trajectory.
It’s fraught with texture – synth, percussive, vocal sampling. “Home” has all the hooks of house banger but never falls into a commercial trap – it’s sandpaper electronica: it grates you but you’ll like it.
From the beeping tin-foil synths of “Whole World To Lose”, to grappling the ever-present struggle of recovery in “Better” he’s got you hooked. “Feeling” and “Hopeful and Offensive” peak as top class bangers, while “Dedicated” is all hollow percussion and rich lyricism.
It’s weird, it’s wily; it’s wracked with guilt and glory and wonder at the world. Bolleurs has succeeded in putting a rasping voice to a generation in the most authentic way.