When it comes to dreamy productions that blur the lines between hip-hop, R&B, and indie pop, Ryan Hemsworth has plenty of competition in 2013, but his pedigree includes work with Main Attrakionz, Sole, and Quadron, so the Canadian DJ and producer must have something up his sleeve. Judging from all the cool, dreamy, and afternoon music on his debut album, that sleeve probably hangs off a sized-up and tastefully designed sweater as Guilt Trips is the audio equivalent, enveloping the listener in cozy and cool songs that are all welcoming. Getting lost in the pillowy "One for Me" is easy as vocalist Tinashe coos her way through the producer's cloudy soundscape, while the key track "Still Cold" with Baths feels like the Postal Service coming off a marathon Al Green listening session as it yearns and searches with an extra helping of soul. Delicate numbers like "Yaeko Mitamura Is Lonely" and "Against a Wall," with Lofty305, sit and wait for the sequel to Lost in Translation to be made so they can slide on to its evocative soundtrack, but Hemsworth isn't all shadows and fog, as "Happiness and Dreams Forever" loops the words "please don't trust me," because there's some quirky, dry humor here between the cracks. Best chuckle of them all comes when "Ryan Must Be Destroyed" subtly combines cloud-rap and trap music for a downtempo, post-Molly poppin' experience, but none of these small jokes undermine the album's beauty, which grows with every listen. Call it indie chill or twilight hop, but either way, Guilt Trips is a soft, serene, and inspired debut.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries