- 20 Nov 23
Stellar follow up from Dublin rap hero - 8.5/10
Neal Keating A.K.A Nealo's sophomore offering, emerging from a turbulent phase in the Dublin rapper’s life, provides a powerful blend of raw emotion and blossoming positivity.
Unlike his debut All The Leaves Are Falling which was a love letter to his native city, November Medicine is a more introspective journey of self-love and healing, with the rapper also addressing contemporary societal issues – such as racism and social media dissolution on ‘Absent Hearted’ - with unflinching honesty.
Spanning nine tracks intertwined with four voice notes, Nealo's raspy Dublin enunciations convey his struggles, including the end of a decade-long relationship and what seems like a relentless battle with depression.
The album’s solid narrative arc details this voyage in full, particularly through the aforementioned voice memos, which ebb between his post-marital gloom, darkly humorous accounts of life on the dole, and reconnecting with nature – culminating in an experience which, while bleak at times, is both moving and rewarding.
Characterised by lush production throughout, the cinematic strings on ‘Spirit Totem’ and the freeing sax solo on the addictingly catchy ‘Cereal’ act as sonic markers of the artist’s cathartic liberation.
The album also thrives on collaboration, with each guest artist adding unique layers to Nealo's self-critical narratives, like Morgana’s soulful presence on ‘Forest’ or Jehnova’s memorable contribution to the earworming hooks on ‘Tears You Cry’.
From the LP’s gloomy depths, the closing track ‘Only Human,’ poignantly encapsulates Nealo’s journey towards healing and growth – standing as a manifesto of love - for self and others.
November Medicine is out now.