In their new single, titled “Fathers,” collaborators Mannie T’Chawi and Shane Palko showcase a wonderfully bold spoken word part amidst a backdrop that draws inspiration from elements of ambient pop and the minimalism of an alternative era increasingly dominated by loud voices in the business. T’Chawi has an inspiring approach to conventional storytelling here, putting his command of the lyrics second to the tonal presence he implements with his stoic delivery, the resulting cocktail sounding as indebted to the great speakers of yore as it is a more contemporary sound that now feels somewhat impossible before the advent of a millennial generation. “Fathers” joins a crowded market for intriguing independent releases in the latter half of 2022, but for what I look for in a track of its kind, it has just the right stuff to satisfy this season.
The lyrical bluntness we get out of the verses in this single is incredible all by itself, but when considering how much it’s amplified by the tone of T’Chawi’s delivery, it’s difficult to dismiss just how important a role this talented poet is playing in how well the piece is pulled together in the moment. There are multiple working parts even in what would seem to be the track’s most plaintive moments, and while I wouldn’t say that it’s the most complex new spoken word release I’ve heard in 2022, it doesn’t have to incorporate a lot of bells and whistles to show us how organically powerful a performer its leading man is.
Even with the lack of cosmetic intricacy in this composition, T’Chawi’s spoken word has a way of shining like a diamond in the rough, shedding the murky darkness of the distant melodic componentry here like a butterfly bursting to life from a cocoon. There’s an argument to be made that we could learn a little more about this player’s depth as a poet with a more involved backdrop than the one we find in this release, but at this stage of his career, I don’t know that it was an important feature to put into this single.
Making a memorable collaboration is hard enough to begin with, but when factoring in how artistic a number T’Chawi and singer/songwriter Palko have made for us in “Fathers,” it’s all the more obvious how invested both of them are in this medium.
There’s still a lot that we don’t know about Mannie T’Chawi and Shane Palko and the kind of music they want to make as a professional act, but after taking a peek at what they can do in this release, I am certain of the message they want to send – and am currently looking forward to hearing how they are going to develop this sound in the future. “Fathers” flirts with certain atmospheric themes that could prove quite compelling if channeled in the right direction, and though I would never want to pressure an act as talented as this one is into rushing right back to the studio after making something amazing like this, momentum is a terrible thing to squander.
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