EP REVIEW: Downer Inc. – Whatever This Is

Release Date: September 16th 2020
Label: MDDN Records
Website: None available
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kellinquinnupdates
Twitter: www.twitter.com/downer_inc

Rating:

The ongoing pandemic has done little to hinder the creativity of Sleeping With Sirens frontman, Kellin Quinn. Alongside lending his iconic vocals to a number of bands lately, Quinn has also found the time to create a solo project of his own.

This side-project, Downer Inc., is the product of a collaboration between Quinn and producer Cameron Mizell, who worked on the Sleeping With Sirens records ‘Feel’ and ‘With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear’. The resulting EP, ‘Whatever This Is’, is a six-track summary of the world’s madness and the singer’s response to it.

Although this is largely from a personal perspective, certain tracks teeter on the edge of something bigger. This is particularly evident in the explosive opener, ‘Ground Zero’, in which Quinn begs the kids to “Wake up” and to “Stand up and fight”. It’s a sentiment that’s carried into the urgent ‘Generation Z’ that begins to blur the global with the individual.

Taking influence from past and recent collaborations, the EP features elements of the popular emo rap movement, seeing Quinn flit between his signature style and half spoken, almost rapped verses. ‘Work Of Art’ (featuring Eliza Grace) is a prominent example of this, in which low-key instrumentation accompanies laidback vocals to deliver a moment of appreciation for the things that pull us through these difficult and unprecedented times.

Playing like a fever dream, the tracks are dizzyingly repetitive. Lyrics, instrumental hooks, and entire song structures loop like a musical Groundhog Day, embodying the frustration of the current global situation and the tiresome nature of lockdown. If this is intentional then it’s very clever, though it does make for tiring listening at times. The not-so-subtly named ‘Letdown’ is especially guilty of this, making it hard to distinguish genuine enjoyment of the music from the relatability of its content.

If nothing else, Kellin Quinn through Downer Inc. has created a piece of art that unites us in our frustrations and infatuations despite our physical distance.