North London’s Col3trane, Cole Basta, made his debut in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since. He’s been hinting the release of new music for some time, what with the release of the singles “Superpowers” and “The Fruits” earlier this year.
Fast forward to May 31, Col3trane released the Heroine EP, complete with the aforementioned singles and five other tracks. Col3trane covers all bases when it comes to a solid R&B and trap inspired EP, with a little bit of something for everyone.
Aptly named “Divine Intervention“, this hypnotic opening is the start to an impressively strong EP. Setting the pace and style, Col3trane’s smooth vocals mean there is no need for too much fuss, just clean and simple beats to compliment his husky dream of a voice.
The opener addresses a relatable feeling of knowing that something has taken control or being saved from oneself in a way that you can’t quite understand. The listener is hooked from the beginning, riding that wave of melody that takes us into Col3trane’s introspective and enlightened position which is then punctured by busty drum beats and disorientating synth sounds.
The eponymous “Heroine” was released as a single back in Spring, and despite the gritty vocals and punchy beats, its lyrics seem to be that of a typical R&B song – longing for a night with a girl, telling her you need her and that she is your heroine.
Having said that, Cole sprinkles plenty of relatable references from Back to the Future – Waking up in last night but my name ain’t Marty – and the viral video of the two girls that try to sing Cher Lloyd’s “Oath”, only to be interrupted by their fuming mother, because one of them hadn’t flushed the toilet – DISGOSTENG!
It is understandable why “Heroine” was one of the first to be released from this EP, it’s definitely one that gets stuck in your head, and not even in a bad way.
Opening with a selection of strings, “Superpowers” (featuring GoldLink) assumes Col3trane in the position of possessing powers “for me to know and you to find out”. This track stands out for its more chilled and laid-back vibe, and of course the GoldLink feature, which is unfaultable.
Cole’s appetite for collaborations in his early days lends itself to him collaborating with the current queen of features, RAYE. Her silky vocals compliment Cole’s in the “Honesty” interlude which flows seamlessly into to “The Fruits” featuring DJDS and RAYE.
Instrumentally “The Fruits” is stripped back, with a focus on vocals, and honestly, it really doesn’t need anything else. Col3trane’s voice is layered with haunting chants and a consistent drum beat that strengthens and lessens in all the right places. This layering effect and RAYE’s complimentary vocals take you on a journey and create an intense sonic experience, which makes this song possibly one of the favourites on the EP.
Stripped back to a 90s R&B vibe, the penultimate “Problems In Us” slows the EP right down. This song is so real, a narrative that follows the realisation of the breakdown of a relationship and the feelings that follow – “if that ain’t enough / I’m sobering up“.
The EP finishes on “We Good” which rounds off the EP quite nicely. Col3trane’s slow melodic vocal closes the album like a bedtime lullaby. This song is smooth and somehow makes you feel as though you are floating on a cloud, despite the trappy beat and the repetitious chanting chorus.
Col3trane manipulates brash drum beats to compliment his smooth vocals which creates a simultaneously expressive and poised sound. Col3trane once again bends genres of R&B, hip-hop and trap to unapologetically create his own sound, and it definitely works.
If innocence runs on a scale from Frank Ocean to The Weeknd, I would say Col3trane’s Heroine EP sits firmly in the middle, exuding both attitude and emotion proving to be a versatile and extremely likable EP. Our favourite tracks are “Divine Intervention” and “The Fruits”.
Purchase Col3trane’s Heroine EP on iTunes here, and stream it on Spotify below.
Words by Lucy Thomas