Although it is only five songs in length, Benjamin Carter’s poignant new EP, Black Boys on the Radio: Part I accomplishes more than most artists do with a full-length release. The five tracks that make up the EP are not only bright and warm (perfect for summer) but they also effortlessly showcase Carter’s sonic range while he touches on powerful and personal lyrical subjects. Perfectly sandwiched in the middle of the EP, the title track really sets the tone for the songs surrounding it, focusing on how pop culture treats and perceives black Americans who aren’t celebrities. The song, which encourages listeners to look inward, own up to their mistakes and actively search out ways to grow is clearly the star of the EP, but that’s not to say that the surrounding songs don’t shine as well.
Opening Black Boys on the Radio: Part I is the warm and dreamy, “Psycho”, carried by a simplistic, fuzzy guitar riff and vulnerable lyrics that find Carter admitting, “I’m so over chasing just another stereotype”. Following “Psycho” is the punk-leaning and groovy “Finish The Job”, which showcases his spectacular vocal range. Meanwhile, “Hands Up (DON’T SHOOT!)” is an explosive, aggressive anthem that is carried by powerful, emotional lyrics delivered with frantic, gritty vocals, which is contrasted perfectly with “Lost Control”, which finds him promising, “I’m sorry, I’ll get better”.
Short, but incredibly powerful, Black Boys on the Radio: Part I does exactly what a good EP should: it serves as a great introduction to Benjamin Carter’s versatile sound for those who might be hearing him for the first time, all while delivering music with substance. The songs on the EP are timeless both in sound and lyrical content, making them easy to come back to again and again, finding something new to listen to each time.