This chapter of KiLLOWEN was started back in 2022 with the release of ‘Bar Fights & Poetry’. Since then, in single after single, KiLLOWEN has not missed once.
Impressively, this has continued on his new 9-track EP ‘Pub Therapy’. The West-Londoner has honed his craft, and how he delivers his work to his listeners. This project is clearly the culmination of years of work, and the results are immense.
In this project, KiLLOWEN takes on the roles of writer, performer, and producer for the vast majority of songs. There is a DIY spirit that shines through, and this is one of the many things that contributes to its success. ‘Pub Therapy’ shows storytelling prowess, alongside an ability to craft a catchy chorus. Production-wise, KiLLOWEN shines as a unique talent amongst current producers. The sound he gives on this project blends aspects from several genres to great effect. He uses samples wonderfully on tracks such as ‘Sober’ and ‘One Night’, and proves his range through tracks such as ‘The Butterfly Effect’.
KiLLOWEN kindly invited Oculate to the launch party for this project, and the evening highlighted the trajectory the artist is on. Core supporters sold out the venue, and belted-out his lyrics with a passion. KiLLOWEN has managed to build up a dedicated fan-base, through both the quality of his music, and his presence on social media. Indicative of the care the artist takes with all aspects of his work, was the attention to detail present in this event. For the ‘Pub Therapy’ launch, KiLLOWEN took over The George Tavern in Shadwell, East London. The pub’s aesthetic matched that of the EP’s perfectly. Moreover, the venue was decorated with personalised KiLLOWEN flags and beer mats, and even KiLLOWEN crisps, nuts and skittles lined the bar. If searching for an illustration on how to hold a party to launch a project, the personalisation and care taken with the ‘Pub Therapy’ launch would be a worthy example. Credit to KiLLOWEN and his team for that.
Onto the project itself, we begin with ‘Landmines.’. Thoughtful keys are joined by garage drums and vocal chops, as KiLLOWEN embarks on delivering his stream of consciousness. ‘Roman catholic family could tell my mum always wanted a daughter, but she still loved me the same’. Lyrics like this go to show the ability of KiLLOWEN to deliver a thought-provoking story. ‘Landmines.’ sets the tone of energetic instrumentals being combined with personal lyricism. Next up we have ‘One Thing’, the latest single to be released before the EP. KiLLOWEN samples ‘1 Thing’ by Amerie, flipping it into UK garage. This one is lively and up-beat; it immediately transports you to a party atmosphere. Fans can sing along with the sample, as well as the hook added by KiLLOWEN. He touches on topics that continue as themes throughout the project, such as his personal relationships and drinking culture.
This is followed by KiLLOWEN’s biggest track to date, the incredible, ‘Sober’. When snippets were first posted on TikTok back in 2022, fans immediately got behind this track, and the short clips spread across the app. The sample flip was executed marvellously, and the lyrics brimmed with relatability. ‘Time moves slow when I get Sober’, stands out as one of KiLLOWEN’s most iconic lyrics. The song seemed to capture a moment in time. Perhaps no moment highlighted this more perfectly than when KiLLOWEN performed this track at Reading and Leeds festival in the summer. The crowds collectively lost it when this track began to play. It is completely deserved that this is seen as the brightest light in KiLLOWEN’s already shimmering discography.
‘Sober’ gives way to ‘About Last Night...’. This one sees KiLLOWEN put his own spin on the jersey club sound. One of the best hooks on the whole project can be found here, with a vocal range being evidenced with his singing of this chorus. The song is about the feeling of waking up after a night out and worrying that you have embarrassed yourself. Hangxiety, beer fear, whatever you want to call it, KiLLOWEN captures that feeling wonderfully with this track.
‘Holding On’ comes next. Vocal chops, in combination with fast-paced drums, bring the energy on this one. KiLLOWEN continues to deliver captivating lyrics, with ‘I’m all the things that an artist ain’t’ standing out to me. As well as, ‘So tired of asking why when this music stops there’s so much silence’. Five tracks in, and KiLLOWEN is fully in the swing of things, providing here one of his highest quality songs to date.
To continue the project, we have the song that started this chapter well over a year ago, ‘Bar Fights & Poetry’. It’s this track that set the tone of this vein of creation for KiLLOWEN. Garage drums, a spoken-word delivery and relatable lyricism. It sounds quintessentially British, and quintessentially KiLLOWEN. This track completely retains its relevance in this project. The contrast of bar fights and poetry, is illustrative of the contrasts present in the artists’ life and the society he’s in. It serves as a compelling sentiment, whether taken literally or metaphorically.
In ’20:50 Freestyle’, we see a slightly different side to KiLLOWEN. In this one he allows a minimal amount of braggadocio to creep into the track. Whilst this would be well-earned as it is, he delivers it in a very self-aware way. There’s a skit in the intro, as if he’s performing this to impress a radio DJ. This humour adds a subversive element to the song. A freestyle-type track would perhaps be expected, and whilst that is provided, it’s delivered in a unique and engaging way. Emphasised here is the level of thought going into KiLLOWEN’s work, as well as a showcase of his skill on the mic.
It gives way to the penultimate song, ‘Break The Cycle’. The second of the singles released from this project, this one strikes me as a favourite of his core fanbase. Whilst it didn't quite reach the numbers as some of the other singles, it stands out as KiLLOWEN showing us what he does best. He details the struggles of the cyclical nature of life, and being stuck in the same routine. KiLLOWEN himself was still working at Tesco alongside doing his music up until this year. With that knowledge the song seems even more poignant.
And that brings us to the final track, ‘The Butterfly Effect’. In the project’s conclusion, we are again given a new side to the artist. The tempo of the instrumental is slowed down, and garage drums are replaced by a more hip-hop sound. Orchestral melodics are included, as KiLLOWEN delivers some of his most honest lyrics yet. In finishing the project, it is clear he wished to leave us with a meaningful outro. Future plans are detailed, along with a continuation of themes from earlier in the EP. This serves as a valuable ending to a stellar project.
So, to conclude, KiLLOWEN has truly arrived. He has cemented his name in the scene with this highly impressive debut. The artist manages to tick all boxes, from his song-writing to production, stage presence to the EP rollout. He has managed to tap into a sound and a feeling that is resonating with a big audience, which is certainly no small feat. Judging from ‘Pub Therapy’, KiLLOWEN is here to stay, and what he comes up with next is definitely worth sticking around for.