reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
A month and a half ago, my partner and I did what Graeme Bousada — artistically known as BOUSADA — contemplates on his track “North Park”: we left Victoria to move East. Fleeing the rapidly increasing rent prices, the gentrification, and the very real lack of housing space, rural Newfoundland became a paradise of affordable rent and untouched coastlines. A writing program in Toronto became my anchorage to an artistic community. Until I heard BOUSADA’s take, I had never heard the problems I faced for years expressed in music.
“North Park” stands out on BOUSADA’s debut EP, Shake, as the only hip-hop track, as well as the song that pulls most strongly from animosity, but that pushes through with love. A lament to what “home” means, BOUSADA ultimately decides that his community of North Park is “deep in [his] bones” and that the people of Victoria make the financial hassle worth it, at least until his building is lost to another condo.
Otherwise, BOUSADA’s music has a dreamy quality: something of early Gorillaz seeps into the melodious synth lines of “Cast in Gold” and “Shake”, which use shared tunes to become iterations of each other. “Cast in Gold” is a sprawling and deft creation, while “Shake” is cleaner, more direct, and has the ability to pierce and settle. The two exist within each other, though “Shake”, for all its optimism, comes out stronger.
With the return of those old-school synth lines, Shake ends on a smooth, low-key note. “Believe it ‘cause my heart knows when it’s beating up my spine. Find yourself. Lose my mind,” sings BOUSADA on “On My Own”, before his smooth vocals rise and float to the surface, something addictive in the pacing and energy. When this debut EP came to a close, I had an immediate need to start it again, and I haven’t been able to stop since. BOUSADA is looking to expand his touring and music beyond the West Coast, and I wait anxiously in my new home for this force to land.
Top Tracks: “Shake”; “On My Own”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + *Swoop*