After breaking through with his star-studded 2017 debut and winning a Grammy for his remix of HAIM's "Walking Away," Mura Masa released R.Y.C., a raw, introspective record that often channeled angsty pop-punk, expressing the messy emotions of youth. On demon time, the producer's third album, he largely seems to have put his guitar away, left his issues at home, and returned to the clubs after a period of pandemic-enforced isolation. With the exception of "2gether," a wistful tune that first appeared as a single in 2021 and would've felt more at home on R.Y.C., these are the poppiest, most playful Mura Masa songs to date. Like R.Y.C., however, demon time is wildly inconsistent, with a few genuine highlights scattered amongst a batch of songs that don't quite stick. Kicking off with a title track featuring a saucy rap by BAYLI, the album moves to "bbycakes," a bubbly collaboration with Lil Uzi Vert, Shygirl, and PinkPantheress that ends up a bit too sweet for its own good. Tohji & Midas the Jagaban feature on the trancey candy trap tune "slomo," which isn't particularly an improvement. Some of the more danceable tracks fare better, though. Frequent collaborator slowthai adds his punkish energy to "up all week," a fidget house throwback laced with buzzing bass synths and dial tones. Shygirl and Channel Tres both sound right at home on "hollaback bitch," trading seductive, quick-witted raps over a deep house-inspired beat with a ping-ponging bassline and a horn solo. Erika de Casier steals the show with her gentle, heartfelt lead vocals on "e-motions," a sparkling, harp-kissed garage tune that sounds like it was plucked from the U.K. pop charts circa 2000. Mura Masa is an immensely talented and creative producer, and a celebratory album from him doesn't sound like a bad idea coming after the uneasy R.Y.C., but demon time unfortunately turns out to be underwhelming.
demon time Review
by Paul Simpson