Review by William Bunch
Maniac is back. His aptly named ‘Homecoming’ EP is his first fully solo expedition, since doing 6 years of a 14 year sentence for conspiracy to murder. With prior productions working on tracks with Wiley, JME and Chip he’s a producer many heads will be familiar with, known for his otherworldly sonics and maximal sound. For the new comers to the scene, however, ‘Homecoming’ will serve as an introduction to the Maniac sound.
The question is how has that sound fared since in the time he’s been away, put on a Maniac track from any of his pre-incarceration releases and it will still bang. Tracks from his instrumental album ‘New Age Grime’, ‘Salt Fish’ EP or ‘Devil’ EP are filled with an inescapable energy. Post-incarceration his release with fellow E3 resident Maxsta and Manchester’s Boothroyd stands as one of the best Grime release to of dropped in recent years, and features some of Maniac’s best and most accomplished productions to date. In the 6 years or so he was away, there have also been numerous wannabe-Maniac producers that have tried to mimic his style that have fallen short. So it comes as a surprise that ‘Homecoming’ feels like it owes more to producers like Rude Kid, Filthy Gears, Oddz and Swifta Beater than to his own inimitable style.
Opening ‘Homecoming’, ‘Go’ is a solid trap beat that gives way to rising synths and square wave drones. It’s perfect for MCs looking for a track to showcase their lyrics but can easily be filed with the hundred or so other beats that came out on this vibe in the last year. ‘Track and Field’ finds itself run out with an over familiar eski vibe and choral vocals, a la Swifta’s Choir Gang, and ‘Victoria Park’ is straight up 8 bar grime. While 8-bar grime can thrive off it’s repetitiveness causing devastation with both MCs and the crowd, here Victoria Park lacks the rawness to keep you listening....