I got into Rustie’s Glass Swords much later than most. It was just one of those albums I missed, whilst everyone I knew was screaming its praises from the rooftops. I probably only gave the album a proper listen 6 months or so ago and rapidly fell in love and I understood why so many people from different musical backgrounds did too. This was one of the few “dance” music records of the last few years that crossed-over from the “hardcore” to the general alternative mainstream (see also: TNGHT and Daniel Avery,) and finally I was in the perfect position to ride the hype train for Rustie’s second album Green Language. And god am I disappointed.
There’s nothing that overtly bad with the album, it even features one absolutely amazing song (even that isn’t down to Rustie alone though), it’s just quite meh. The album’s first two tracks ‘Worship’ and a ‘Glimpse’ are effectively both ok intros, which is fine, but there isn’t the need for both of them. ‘Worship’ is especially guilty of pointlessness, exploring some dronier territory, which is not what people want from a master of maximalism. Then we hit lead single ‘Raptor’, packed to the rafters with so many different sounds but none of them are actually interesting, lacking fun and their immediacy seems forced.
Eventually the album does seem to hit something that might be called its stride with the numerous features that are in the middle of the album. The best of these is definitely ‘Attak’ featuring Danny Brown. The two had collaborated before with Rustie producing a few songs on the more party orientated side of Brown’s Old, but ‘Attak’ makes all of those songs feel like teasing for this masterpiece. Brown is on his best form here rapping with such playful anger, his voice bouncing around between beats, which are arguably the ‘trapiest’ Rustie has ever sounded.
The other features inevitably fail to live up to the brilliance of Danny’s but still have their worth, with D Double E on ‘Up Down’ particularly noteworthy, although might fail to stand out in such a big year for grime. Redinho on ‘Lost’ is drenched in auto-tune jars massively on first listen but as with most album grows into its own brand of mediocrity after multiple listens, which I guess could count as an achievement?
Rustie has called music his way of “communicating” in the past, and I kept wondering if he was trying to communicate intense boredom to the listener through this album in which case it’s an unparalleled success. Maybe how enamoured I was with Glass Swords so close to the build-up for Green Language has ruined my own enjoyment of this album, which is a shame for me personally and whilst my context hasn’t helped, something far greater has definitely gone wrong here.By Harry Rosehill