I know I have the tendency to hype up certain music too much, but when I say that Duval Timothy’s new album Help might be one of the most memorable and breathtaking albums I’ve heard in years. Trust me, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been a fan of the London-based multi-disciplinary artist for a few years now, especially with the release of projects like 2017’s Sen Am and 2018’s 2 Sim. His piano-led soundscapes capture such an emotive and powerful aura, as they meander between subtle synths and voice recordings from friends and family in Sierra Leone, his second home. His last two albums were absolutely stunning, but his brand new 18-track album titled Help is by far his most ambitious and complete work to date. With extensive collaborations from the likes of Lil Silva, Melanie Faye, Vegyn, Desta Haile, Mr Mitch, Dave Okumo, and Twin Shadow amongst others, he is able to craft a stunning, heartfelt muse of electronic sounds and piano-led melodies that are just spellbinding.
The emotive and atmospheric opener “Next Tomorrow” sets the tone for the rest of the album, with incredible piano keys, empowering synth leads and an electronic beat that provides a gorgeous, mesmeric soundscape. The rich tapestry of sounds he is able to craft with the assistance of his co-producers Rodaidh McDonald (who has worked with King Krule and The XX) and Marta Salogni (who has worked with Björk) is just breathtaking. The intensity of “Radish,” with it’s dominant and gloomy piano keys and it’s electronic glitches and beats is an example of this. The dynamic and eclectic rhythms and grooves throughout this track and the album as a whole make it such a captivating listen. The incredible “Fell Again” features Lil Silva and Melanie Faye and is absolutely outstanding. The dominant piano keys, the incredible guitars and the angelic vocals are stunning. And when that beat drops and that groove kicks in even more? Goosebumps. And I’m not even exaggerating. It’s not even the only time it happens throughout the album. Tracks like “Groundnut” and “C” are other examples of this. The former track for its beautiful guitar leads and groove that complements the poignant piano keys, and “C” for it’s emphatic piano melody. The beautiful synths and incredible vocal samples on “Like” featuring Vegyn is another highlight for me, and the chords and keys on “U” are poignant, emotive and absolutely stunning throughout. The almost futuristic “Pink” closes the album out with an emotive sound, with thick synths, electronic effects and stunning piano keys. It’s a powerful and dominant way to close an album out, and what an album this is.
There’s still a lot about the album I haven’t said, I can go on for ages talking about my love for it. The raw humanity of this album is what makes it so relatable and amazing to me. He channels such a pure, emotive energy on this project that I haven’t quite felt in a very long time. The textures, instrumental layers and incredible samples throughout this project is just something else, and I really hope he continues to thrive and succeed because he deserves all the success and love he can get. Help is an astonishing, memorable body of work that cements Duval Timothy as one of the most important contemporary musicians of his time. Well done, man!