Discussion around mental illness is important for Farr Well with new EP Hard Pill to Swallow delving into the issue amongst a lofi hip-hop sound.
Hip-hop artist and mental health advocate Farr Well has created an open forum around mental health and hard-hitting issues on his new record Hard Pill To Swallow. With first-hand experience of these issues, the artist draws on his past events to provide relatable lyrics for some of us, and for the others, a glimpse into what it’s like and how to help. Set against shifting lofi sounds, fuzzy guitars and underlying synths, it’s an EP that knows exactly where it wants to go.
Think kicks off the record with funky, soulful lofi beats and dreamy guitars providing the atmosphere. The bars flow in an addictive style, with the listener straight away thrown into Far Well’s inner turmoil and mental health issues: “Is the paranoia real, bad ideas in my head, still can’t take the pill, my mind stays ill, I’m exploding.” The combination of vocals and guitar riff in the chorus works really well, reminding of The Black Keys Side project Blakroc at times with the combination or fuzzy guitar against a hip-hop essence.
With Bprr we’re thrown right into the fray as fast-paced vocals are pushed forward once again by a free-styling guitar dipping in and out at its whim. We are once again welcomed into Farr Well’s mindset which is confused and erratic, providing an emotional substance for the listener to grab hold of. Living L(r)ight follows with a more synthy underbelly and prominent singing style to open the track. The more settled atmosphere works well in providing an emotional reminiscence throughout the lyrics with Farr Well looking back to when he was in a bad place and how his new platform and power can help him speak for the people that need it: “I can make a difference here, I can finally tell my story without fear”
As the EP continues, it feels as if Farr Well is getting more confident and outspoken – the music is giving him energy and he knows it. Street Forecast floats along on those lofi beats once again as the artist tries to spread his confidence and mantra of ‘things can change’. It may be difficult, and Far Well shows how difficult things can be through his tight bars and vivid imagery, but he also tends to be positive at some point to bring it all back into perspective. Kid Again then brings that ‘Blakroc’ sound back into the fray with thumping live drums and energetic vocals against an almost jazz/blues guitar which is allowed to wander over the top. The EP ends on 2/20 which could be seen as a kind of call out to the people that are blindly letting things happen that shouldn’t be happening, and to stand up and make a difference, whether it be mentally, socially, or politically. It’s an all-encompassing ending that highlights we all need to take an active part to make change.
Hard Pill To Swallow is a powerful EP that spreads messages of togetherness. It opens discussion we need to have around mental illness and trauma in communities that need help. Far Well is skilful in his wordplay, able to selflessly wear his heart on his sleeve, discuss his personal issues, and welcomes others to do the same. It’s a kind of hip-hop forum that is designed for people to gain perspective from and hopefully give them the confidence to speak out. The often use of fuzzy guitar works well to bring the music out of its shell with Far Well’s lyrics always honest and flowing nicely. A strong EP with an important message.