When an artist refuses to grow or progress, it can be quite noticeable and worrying. Take Scarlxrd for instance; the Birmingham emo/metal/trap fusionist has made quite a name for himself over the past few years, and signing a deal with Island Records has admittedly led to immense exposure and the subsequent amassing of legions of fans.
2019 saw the ambitious release of three separate full-lengths, all with severely diminishing returns. A bizarre lack of artistic restraint and a label-provided sense of carte blanche have morphed into colossal hinderances, painting a self-parodying image to all those outside of the integral fanbase.
Following on from the underwhelming ‘SCARHXURS’ released back in February, ‘FANTASY VXID’ is the culmination of four separate EPs released over recent months, and if we’re talking numbers, the second Scarlxrd album of 2020, and eleventh in total.
Dropping this many projects in such a short amount of time isn’t necessarily commendable unless you have the material to back it up. Prolificity is measured by the standard of the copious amounts of material produced, not just by the act of production itself. If there’s minimal effort put into the craft, then little merit shall be found.
Room to progress is smothered when such brief time elapses between releases, leading to one cacophonous blur of a discography. This album is everything you’ve come to expect from Scarlxrd; recycled emo-tinged guitar melodies accompanied by the most basic of hi-hats and 808s, while vocals are steeped in the same bland distortion that serves as a screen for endless barrages of indecipherable shrieking. As usual, this process repeats for five to six cuts at a time before the monotony is broken by more traditional type hip-hop fare with aggressive rapping taking the place of the endless screaming and Linkin Park-like wailing. Things then return to their regular scheduled programming.
What’s alarming is the lack of any memorable moment or standout track. Twenty-two to choose from, and not a banger in the bunch. Clocking in at over an hour, ‘FANTASY VXID’ does little to dispel the notion that quantity does not equate to quality. Lessons in restraint and brevity are paramount if Scarlxrd hopes to keep any sense of artistic integrity moving forward. Presently, the regressive nature of these ensuing projects continues to stagnate rather than strengthen.