It isn’t often that one comes across an artist who can draw on a variety of different influences and blend them seamlessly into one finished product. However, that’s exactly what Ottawa’s Alex Silas has done with his latest EP. Catching the ears of many at the local level this past July with his five-track effort Catania, Silas returns this time with Songs for Lovers and Fighters, a seven-track record which sees him cover the gamut in terms of outside influences on his music. Rooted in hip-hop, Silas incorporates everything from country to electro in expert fashion, making for a very diverse, enjoyable listen.
Right from the get-go, it’s apparent that Silas has an eye for creativity with “Delightfully F’ed Up”. On the track, he proceeds to rap over a quick country two-step, delivering lyrics of love and friendship (I’m a kid on the beach with the sandcastles/I dig you), while special guest Karolinka Kaminska joins him in singing the hook. He then switches gears entirely on “Hipster Grrrl”, having lead singer Chase Van Dusen of Ottawa pop rock group Benefit of a Doubt deliver a very R&B-esque hook. Musically, the track heavily relies on funk influences, grooving forward with a prominent bassline and a guitar lick straight out of the seventies. “Coming Home” sounds like something The Black Keys could easily be featured on, with its blues-rock stomp and soulful vocal appearance from Sandra Bunga. Where will this EP go next? Straight to the dancefloor, with “Love Wasted”. This track features pulsing electro grooves from Ottawa local Matt Dorgan, while also featuring a slick electric guitar tapping solo near the end of the song.
It is at this point on Songs for Lovers and Fighters where Silas drops a few numbers geared more towards the fighters. “Destroy Myself” features some lyrical flow and content that offer up shades of a young Eminem. The song is mostly downtempo, characterized by its plodding guitar line, but soon explodes into a thunderous part that wouldn’t seem out of place in any hard rock or heavy metal work. “Roll the Dice” puts more electric guitar swagger up front for the listener, while the album returns to the acoustic side of things with the easy-going “Cheap Wine”.
Songs for Lovers and Fighters really shines in the area of musical diversity, with Alex Silas showing his appreciation for a multitude of different musics by mixing them in to his final product. The man does so in a way that constantly keeps the listener guessing what style will be presented next, while also showing that he does still have room to grow as both a singer, rapper, and lyricist.