In 2019, Slowly Slowly frontman Ben Stewart revealed his solo project, Congrats. After a string of singles, the musician has unveiled his genre-bending, captivating debut EP, Pharaoh. Produced by ARIA Award nominee Konstantin Kersting (Mallrat, Tones & I, Jungle Giants), the release conceptually pairs confidence with self-denial, using brightly ambiguous sonics that juxtapose the darker conceptual content explored across the six-song collection.
Opening with Lobotomy, Stewart navigates the feeling of losing a piece of yourself post-breakup, almost celebrating the void and numbness that acts as respite. Whilst the track has modern production, incorporating trap beats, there is a classic quality to it that encompasses passion and sincerity, providing a more candid lyrical note on the song. Berzerk floats above pared back modern production, incorporating muted trap beats, with a classic quality full of passion and sincerity, providing a more candid lyrical note on the song. Conceptually, the song is a reminder to listen to your gut feeling and trust your own instincts.
Title track Pharaoh offers a different writing approach from Stewart. Where other tracks end in light and resolution, there is no resolve upon the tracks conclusion. Built upon minimal production, the dark track offers moments of introspection, with a mesmerising vocal performance from Stewart. On Russian Roulette, Stewart encounters moments of solidity, before everything is flipped on its head and self-destruction seeps through.
The release is rounded out with two collaborations, Believe The Hype and Overthink.
Stewart continues to prove his versatility as a musician and songwriter on Believe The Hype. Juxtaposing commanding vocals with soft spoken verses, we’re shown another side of the multi-faceted musician. Featuring Ivan Ooze, the track focuses on staying on track throughout all the noise On the EP’s closer Overthink, Stewart ends on a high with his signature sleek production, teaming up with Kwasi.
With his solo-project, Stewart has re-routed his creative energy and explored avenues that differ from the usual territory his music with Slowly Slowly exists within, and he never misses a beat. Moving away from punk, rock and hardcore, Pharaoh is influenced by Stewart’s continuing love and appreciation with pop and hip-hop and showcases his effortless ability at fusing together the genres. His instantly recognisable and charismatic vocals continue to shine no matter the setting. The modern pop production gives Stewart a space to be more candid within his lyricism, bursting through the confines of genre to create a body of work that is authentic and timeless. Through deviating away from what he had become accustomed to, Stewart ushers in an exciting new era of his career.
Pharaoh is out now!