Move over Sam Smith and Adele. With his colossal voice ready to both shake and silence the world, Rag n Bone Man proves that he’s more than capable of becoming the next UK singer to make it big. Rag n Bone Man’s stellar, sophomore EP Disfigured, released March 9th via Best Laid Plans, provides listeners with a superb four track collective that solidifies his talent and demonstrates his endless potential.
His powerful vocals are on full display in “Hard Came The Rain,” the pounding first track from the EP. It’s equal parts gritty and brooding, with an effective rock and roll feel. Rag n Bone Man’s voice rips through the lyrics and takes no prisoners. The track’s newly released music video appropriately captures the intensity that boils in “Hard Came The Rain.” Rag n Bone Man revealed that the video’s volatile relationship was inspired by the Quentin Tarantino penned True Romance. Both the track and the video elicit high energy and tension, which demonstrates Rag n Bone Man’s talent for creating such a commanding single.
The second track slows things down from the first. “Perfume,” which was co-written with To Kill A King’s lead singer Ralph Pelleymounter, displays the men’s lyrical mastery. It’s poetic and pained as Rag n Bone Man croons that “the fragrance of love can tear a man apart, long way from home, the trace of her perfume is all I got.” As the track builds, so does Rag n Bone Man’s vocals; it’s an impressive display of his limitless talent. In “Perfume,” he’s softer and more restrained than his usual forceful growl. It’s a soulful and tender track that is a welcome addition to the Disfigured EP.
A track that fans were most familiar with prior to the EP release is “Bitter End.” Featuring velvety vocals, a strong melody and a dynamic production, it’s a striking track that examines the torturous collapse of an old friendship. With lyrics like “you swear to God, but I’m a non-believer” and “I can’t accept it’s over now, I won’t let go,” Rag n Bone Man provokes a rousing and emotional response for anyone who’s lost a loved one. Surely, the only bitterness the listener will feel is when the track is over.
The title track of the EP, “Disfigured,” is a downtempo and grave offering that reaches superb Gospel heights. With a haunting choral backing, Rag n Bone Man’s powerhouse pipes command center stage. Although heart-wrenching and somber in sound, the track contains an undeniable energy as the chorus and chants pick up. It hits all the right notes and guides the listener through Rag n Bone Man’s remarkable range. His blues-drenched vocals certainly demonstrate that last isn’t always least as the gritty “Disfigured” finishes off an incredible second EP.
While the nine-track Wolves EP was an accomplishment in itself, Rag n Bone solidifies his place as one of this generation’s best singers. His wonderfully gruff voice captures a raw gravitas that expands one simple genre. Rag n Bone Man’s strength lies in his versatility to transcend beyond blues, soul, hip-hop and funk in order to create a musical masterpiece all his own.