Wu-Lu — aka Miles Romans-Hopcraft — is one of the most innovative new faces in UK music. Peppering the airwaves this year with a flurry of psychedelic, punk-rap cuts, he’s been championed heavily on BBC Radio 6 Music as well as many music publications. Closing out the year in style after recently signing to London indie label Warp Records (Flying Lotus, Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin), Wu-Lu presents his most visceral track yet, “Broken Homes.”
Where “South” and “Times” tackled the struggles of the outside world, “Being Me” showed a more insular side to Wu-Lu’s material and his latest release follows suit. He wrote the song on the absence of good role models in the household but with a hopeful aspect attached to it. “All the shit that you deal with on a daily basis, things can always get better,” he stated in a press release. “At the end of the day, we are all worth more. We are kings and queens, diamonds in the rough, we are beacons of light in the dark.”
The track begins with emotive strings and a spoken word excerpt from Wu-Lu which strikes straight at the track’s sombre title: “How could a premature human / As young as this / Delve into reasonable thought / When anxious frames of guilt / Hold their everyday normality?”
As his latest releases have become accustomed to, intricate drum beats soon make their way into the soundscape and lift the energy of the track. Screeching guitars and tense harmonies create tension before vortexes of noise pummel their way intermittently through the speakers, inducing a trance-like state of anxious ecstasy. Think My Bloody Valentine with a dub and grime twist.
Its accompanying video takes the experience to a new level. Keith Flint haircuts, messy carpets, and dim lights set the relentless scene of never-ending house parties, echoing some of Wu-Lu’s own childhood memories of growing up during the ’90s and early ’00s. Exploring the comfortable and uncomfortable, it’s a powerful watch.
However, as Wu-Lu refers to, slithers of hope do make their way into the track towards its closing stages, with the lyrical mantra shifting to “dealing with fears” and not succumbing to them. Homes may be broken, but they don’t have to break people too.