Sprout The Anti-Hero – Procurement – EP Review
Wait a minute…got the wrong record on my playlist…hang on…
Apparently I don’t! This is indeed the same Sprout The Anti-Hero we know & love from the band Screaming Red Mutiny…only chances are, you might not recognize him from this solo-effort on his Procurement EP! I’ll fully admit, pushing play on this record and hearing what came out was a complete surprise from what I suppose I was expecting; his band is built on pure-energy – and Procurement is so much more low-key, subtle, and soulful than what I’d experienced from Sprout The Anti-Hero in the past. And in a great way! I’d never knock what Screaming Red Mutiny has put out there and accomplished already…that’s great stuff too – but it’s always a treat to hear what else an artist has in them. I’ve interviewed hundreds of bands and when it comes to the questions about going solo, I’ve pretty much always stood by the fact that, if you’re gonna do it, don’t just go out there and be a complete repeat of what your band already is…because that usually ends up being watered-down BS. When you’re in a band and you make a solo move, it SHOULD be different like what Sprout The Anti-Hero is doing on the Procurement EP…it makes SENSE that an artist would have multiple ways of expressing themselves and likely an equal NEED to…I’m a big fan of what I’m hearing on this record.
Not sure if it was supposed to be as literal of a transformation as it turned out to be, but the first track is called “Difference” – and believe me, you’ll hear the “Difference” between what you think you knew about what Sprout The Anti-Hero and what he’ll reveal to you here. Right from the very get-go, Procurement starts making the most of the melodies you’ll find, setting a high-standard for the rest of the songs to live up to – and over the course of the four tunes on this EP, he ain’t gonna let you down. The combination of gentle acoustic guitar, sweetened percussion sounds, and gorgeous piano…lil’ bass in there as well…this is immaculate stuff…Sprout’s voice ends up making it all that much more fantastic. The impact of the shift between what you might have been expecting from him and what you’ll find is huge to begin with – but to hear how sparkling and heartfelt the results are, will blow your mind. Like – LISTEN to the chorus of this song will ya? That’s an incredible melody right there is what that is, and it’s sung to perfection by the Anti-Hero himself…he should be massively proud of this first impression. Not only does it start Procurement with a beautifully bold melody to begin with, but when you go from the last track to this one again on repeat, there’s no resisting a re-spin…like, you couldn’t possibly – “Difference” is such a fresh, inviting, welcoming, and truly beautiful song. While Sprout wrestles with the complexity of his emotions and life getting in the way through his lyrics, endlessly uplifting, hopeful, and inspiring sounds are flowing from the lefts to the rights on “Difference” – wonderful contrast.
He’s got a completely rad & stylistic video supporting the second-cut on this EP, called “Forward.” Taking a deep dive into his emotions, thoughts, and feelings, Sprout puts in a noteworthy performance on the microphone that truly brings his most soulful tones straight up to the surface on this song. As powerfully written as it is performed, Sprout The Anti-Hero gets this single slow-burning with superior sound and a stunning low-key approach. In the video, you get a full-on cinematic effort here from director Lyndon Alvarez, who does an exceptional job in bringing a story to the screen to support this song designed around the concepts of just how far we’re willing to go for love. From the speakers to the screen, this cut’s got you covered – love the sound of the song to begin with, but having it backed up by such an impressive video shot in black & white with only certain colors added to the scenes you’ll see, Sprout The Anti-Hero’s “Forward” plays like its own beautiful mini-movie. Questioning life & love and taking a hard look at what makes it work & what makes it collapse…dude pours a lot of genuine heart into this song…I feel like this tune gives us a real glimpse into Sprout that we’ve yet to see. Puttin’ smoldering sounds into the microphone and finding exceptional ways to express himself through the vocalizations he chimes in with towards the end of “Forward” at its climax…you gotta hand it to Sprout for digging this deep and coming out with such a bold, confident-but-fragile sound that not only brings this whole song together, but communicates the theme, concept, and vibes in a way we can really feel. Audibly AND visually for that matter – check the video for “Forward” below & get some Sprout up in ya!
So like…I mean…you could make an argument for ANY of these tunes to be a single…the quality is there in the writing, production, performances…and each track brings just a slightly different twist on the sound of Procurement that ANY of these cuts could become your favorite with total justification. The completely rad & compelling sound of “Stones” sounds like, to me, that it’d be the A-side of any record out there…here nestled amongst these other three gems on Procurement…all I’m sayin’ is there better be a few more people out there that recognize the badassery goin’ down! “Stones” slips & slides with slippery & slick movement that provides multiple hooks through both the music & vocals. Highlight performance from Sprout in the verses…you really get him isolated with fairly minimal ingredients in the music at that point and it’s up to him to carry the weight of the song & bring that entertainment, which he does, with remarkable tone & technique. Everything has been going perfectly…for three-minutes straight, I guarantee you’ll be impressed by what you hear…but hang the hell on will ya? It’s a four & a half-minute tune and those final ninety-seconds will go on to seriously impress even more from the brilliant sound of the breakdown to the powerful way that Sprout brings back the hooks on the to the end. Back into the slithering & deadly sound of the main riffs, and it’s all over, just like that – four and a half minutes that will rip by with such wicked rhythm & style that you know you need a whole lot more of it. Keep in mind…while each track may vary in demeanor & sound…the same could be said for all the songs you’ll find on Procurement – quite honestly, this is one hell of a bulletproof record start to finish.
OK. Here’s where things get…hmm…amazing? “Difference” was immediately different than the Sprout I knew…”Forward” put a soulful spin on a powerful tune…”Stones” ended up being a completely cool stroll through superior style & sound…and then…somehow…Sprout STILL comes out of seemingly nowhere, even after proving ALL this diversity, versatility, and innovation throughout the record, he STILL knocks it out of the park, perhaps harder than ever on the final song! Don’t get me wrong, “Sentimental Weight” is probably the most chill tune on the entire EP…but I have next to no doubt that this song will make the biggest impact on the people listening out there. It’s freakin’ magnificent songwriting and stunning execution, full-stop – what else on earth could anyone say about this song? Absolutely beautiful and breathtaking performance from Sprout The Anti-Hero…he should be taking a long, long look at just how incredible this song really is and how well this style suits him. And whether he’ll hate me or love me for saying this, I’m just gonna say it like it really is…he’s got himself an Ed Sheeran level hit here…only like, imagine replacing Ed on the mic with a singer that has the power of a Darius Rucker & that same richness in bold tone? Or if you’re like, a Twilight fan (or better yet you just know Iron & Wine without having had to watch that crap) – think of the immaculate level of beauty you found on “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” – different songs of course, but that’s the caliber of time-stopping moment we’re talking about here. You kidding me people? A song like “Sentimental Weight” should be a license to print money & a roadmap to full-on stardom…we’re living in a seriously cruel world if a song like this doesn’t put Sprout The Anti-Hero into each and every one of your ears out there. This entirely courageous solo-effort deserves massive accolades as far as my ears are concerned – but no song drives home the point of just how special & stunning this record really is quite like this gem at the end – “Sentimental Weight” is crushingly sweet and heartbreakingly real…it’s a remarkably powerful ending to a gripping EP. Not even kidding when I say, just you wait – “Sentimental Weight” WILL be someone’s wedding song one day…that’s the kind of completely captivating, real, & sincere final melody he’s created here – a tune so exceptional, that you’d want to have it as the soundtrack to the most important day of your LIFE. Think about that for a second! I’m tellin’ ya straight dear readers, dear friends – Sprout’s got a flawless record that should definitely be in high-contention & consideration for the top-ten lists of the year in 2019, and have no problem taking the top spots on playlists worldwide.
Find out more about Sprout The Anti-Hero at his official website at: https://www.sprouttheantihero.com
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