“Take your fucking pictures / You only get the truth,” Wu-Lu, Miles Roman-Hopcroft’s jungle-punk-hip-hop-jazz outfit rap on the opening track to his debut album, Loggerhead. “Loggerhead” which is a type of carnivorous sea turtle, but also a slang term for being “in a state of quarrelsome disagreement,” capture the attack and disaffection that you feel on this album of say-your-piece joints.
Roman-Hopcroft, who features a number of South London acts on his record, including Amon, Lex Amor, and Léa Sen, deals with everything from the city’s cultural and societal struggles because of gentrification and crooked politics, to mental illness, to drunken revelries, to self-empowering creative manifestos.
It has the same DNA as those other Londoner’s, Tricky and Killing Joke, incorporating hip hop beats and guitar exploration, while singing about the city’s more depressing realities. “Instincts, it’s the animal instincts,” Roman-Hopcroft says on the particularly Tricky-like track, “Facts,” which he said in an interview is about how people twist your own ideas to their personal gain. The programmed beats (the album is a combination of programmed and live beats), capture a frenetic, paranoid feeling.
Overall, it is an album aimed at both breaking out of the labels being put on Roman-Hopcroft, with its super genre-bending tracks, and a chance for him to be unrestrainedly honest about his thoughts and feelings. Like the album single, “South,” where he deals with the South London environment changing around him. “Priced out forced change / More rent to pay / Locked down full days / Big blue out late.” The video (there are a number of compelling videos released for the album, which project the anger he feels at the state of the world or the importance of camaraderie among his friends) has people picketing with “Black Lives Matter” signs. His music is not political per se, it’s more personal than that. But his music has or will become a soundtrack for the British fight against the powers the be.
The tracks all vary a good deal from one another, and some of my favorite songs are the last two tracks, “Times” and “Broken Homes,” which show Wu-Lu going in a particularly alternative rock direction. A lot of the songs actually found their genesis during jam sessions in the Dead Man’s Pub. And altogether, this album is a creative labor of love, between fellow musicians as much as it is a bleeding of Roman-Hopcroft’s own pen to paper. It is raw, it is artful, it is punk. It’s an album of songs, carrying on the vulnerable and empowered ethos of 90’s London music, but into the twenty first century.
Order Loggerhead by Wu-Lu HERE