Review: Maniac – Homecoming EP

In Grime by Nick Russell

Review: Maniac – Homecoming EP

Maniac is back. His aptly named ‘Homecoming’ EP is his first fully solo expedition, since doing 6 years of a 14 year sentence for conspiracy to murder. With prior productions working on tracks with Wiley, JME and Chip he’s a producer many heads will be familiar with, known for his otherworldly sonics and maximal sound. For the new comers to the scene, however, ‘Homecoming’ will serve as an introduction to the Maniac sound.

The question is how has that sound fared since in the time he’s been away. Put on a Maniac track from any of his pre-incarceration releases and it will still bang. Tracks from his instrumental album ‘New Age Grime’, ‘Salt Fish’ EP or ‘Devil’ EP are filled with an inescapable energy. Post-incarceration his release with fellow E3 resident Maxsta and Manchester’s Boothroyd stands as one of the best Grime release to of dropped in recent years. And features some of Maniac’s best and most accomplished productions to date. In the 6 years or so he was away, there have also been numerous wannabe-Maniac producers that have tried to mimic his style that have fallen short. So it comes as a surprise that ‘Homecoming’ feels like it owes more to producers like Rude Kid, Filthy Gears, Oddz and Swifta Beater than to his own inimitable style.

The tracks

Opening ‘Homecoming’, ‘Go’ is a solid trap beat that gives way to rising synths and square wave drones. ‘Track and Field’ finds itself run out with an over familiar eski vibe and choral vocals, a la Swifta’s Choir Gang. And ‘Victoria Park’ is straight up 8 bar grime. While 8-bar grime can thrive off it’s repetitiveness causing devastation with both MCs and the crowd. Here Victoria Park lacks the rawness to keep you listening.

This highlights the problem with the EP as a whole, the new style Maniac has taken on here is too similar to everything else out there. ‘Homecoming’ should stand out as the return of a producer who has previously been heralded as one of the best in Grime. But instead proves to be a frustrating collection of tracks that cannot find their own identity. In its closing track, Quadratic, the EP does reconcile some of the issues heard. It’s raw gurgling leadline injecting some much needed energy but in many senses it feels like it is too little.  

Homecoming is out on Earth616 on vinyl and digital from Juno

01. Go
02. Track And Field
03. Victoria Park
04. Quadratic