Yung Lean does most things with an unshakable confidence. Key among the reasons for that is surely his prodigious work rate, which means that the next opportunity to right any perceived wrongs is never far away. Not that he’s set too many feet wrong so far; the Swede - still only 21 - enjoyed near ubiquitous rave reviews for both his 2016 releases - second LP, ‘Warlord’, and December’s surprise release, ‘Frost God’. The man born Jonatan Håstad incorporates ideas from both on ‘Stranger’, which again is a thoroughly brooding affair throughout: over beats designed deliberately to summon up a claustrophobic atmosphere, he delivers his latest set of missives in his trademark, menace-laden drawl, like Stockholm’s answer to King Krule.
The discomfiting feel of ‘Stranger’ is, by turns, implied and explicit. On the likes of early single ‘Red Bottom Sky’, it’s the nuances that unsettle, especially the spiralling synths at the midpoint, on a track that otherwise takes its cues from dancehall and ostensibly seems pretty relaxed. The likes of ‘Metallic Intuition’ and ‘Iceman’, though, are considerably moodier pieces from the word go. The way in which he flits between one and the other is in itself a little disquieting and, on a record that’s as sprawling as this one, also jarring and counter-productive in terms of delivering a cohesive feel. In that respect, it doesn’t feel any more disciplined or carefully-crafted than the experimental ‘Frost God’ did, but Yung Lean does continue to push the boundaries - which is precisely what brought him to public attention in the first place.