A truly life-affirming album...

Born from overcoming the experience of childhood trauma, abuse, and being raised in the care system, ‘Hope Above Adversity’ is the particularly bright voice of Dylan Cartlidge and everything he believes in; a ray of light in all-consuming darkness.

A real ode to embracing differences and rising above hardship and tumultuous adversity, the album showcases a gorgeous concoction of hip-hop, catchy pop, blues, and even gospel influence within a message of positivity.

Opening with ‘Dare To Dream’, the album starts with a tune for the daydreamers. Lyrics: “who knows what tomorrow brings?” couldn’t have come at a better time than now, with the track encouraging chance-taking and making the most of your life.

As the album was created during a period of seven months shielding in the pandemic, Dylan recalls finding it a time for discovering a new perspective when it comes to his musical career.

‘Molasses (Walk The Walk)’ is the perfect example of new ventures - the track offering a funky bassline and gospel-esque vocals, all whilst sounding musically reminiscent of early 00’s hip- hop.

‘Brown Bread’ is lyrically reassuring, an encouragement to seize the day and stop looking in the past, while the upbeat ‘Cheerleader’ focusses on being confident and nonconforming to the stereotypes we are placed into.

Rounding up the album is ‘Monsters Under The Bed’, a playful, upbeat bop about overcoming your fears and facing the metaphorical monster under the bed. Originally released as a single in 2019, the track is exhilarating play after play, brandishing a retro rap beat and showcasing the quirkiness of Dylan’s vocals.  

Featuring collaborations with producer Eg White as well as Glass Animals’ Ed Irwin-Singer, ‘Hope Above Adversity’ is a debut album like no other. From the way Dylan’s sound has developed into something even bigger than before, to the way he’s used his vulnerability to help others that may be struggling, there are many reasons to be admirable of both Dylan and his music.

8/10

Words: Samantha Hall

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