The Adelphi Lads Club, the new conceptual EP by Strategy: Review

Strategy’s new EP is a rhythmic voyage through the cosmos of a long-lost Mancunian youth oasis. Let’s explore…

By Manchester's Finest | 28 June 2019

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Mancunian native Strategy has released his latest EP ‘The Adelphi Lads Club’. From his early output as an MC, to his days as a member of 2000s rap group ‘Broke’n’£nglish’, Strategy has solidified himself as a celebrated underground producer.

As his career developed, Strategy began to see success in the electronic world through his releases on Dub Phizix’s label. Living what may have felt like a musical double life, his 2011 single “Marka” showed Strategy’s versatility as an artist, notching up millions of plays and support from major global tastemakers (Benji B, Annie Mac, David Rodigan, Skrillex).

This new EP is a telling six track ode to a hometown landmark. The Adelphi Lads Club was founded in 1888 as one of England’s first youth clubs, though Strategy describes the Salford based-establishment as “much more than that”. Strategy credits this local community pillar as the place he learned “respect, discipline, application, and how it is to become a representation of something more than just yourself”. After burning down over a decade ago, Strategy pays homage to this foundational environment in efforts to highlight its necessity as he firmly believes it is “appalling that places like this don’t exist anymore”.

Named after the famous (or infamous) Manchester City Centre road, ’Trinity Way’ is a banger out-of-the-gate. The track starts off with a raw, telling voice-over from Reece Williams which sets the scene for the succeeding staccato drum pattern and fidgety synth stabs. This explosive track is Manchester through and through, with a rugged bass-line that would have tore up prime-era Sankey’s (rest in peace).

Across six tracks, ‘The Adelphi Lads Club’ features a heavy focus on contrast of sound. As the grim, dystopian ’Ragged’ fades, ‘Sunspots’ arises. This off-kilter collaboration with JustJo is hazy and woozy, like a hot summers day when you can feel the sun melting into your skin. ’Nine Percent Rose’ is a hypnotising record that, out of any track, leans most towards contemporary rap/trap, centred around (what sounds like) a mobile phone sample that’s been re-purposed and chopped into an infectious melody. ‘Cannon Street Kids’ however, is a chaotic 2-step track with garage-inspired drums and a throwback vocal excerpt from 1990s’ Notting Hill attendees.

The EP can be considered to be a sonic equivalent to the feeling of hope; an intriguing contrast to the lack of hope that post-austerity Britain is dealing with. Within its bright moments, where soulful keyboards and punchy drums run riot, this EP is holding a gentle conversation about the world that Mancunian’s generation Z are growing up in.

On the EP’s final track, Strategy’s three year old daughter Everley, who Strategy says is “always” in his home studio, appears to repeatedly announce that “the world is mine, peace to the world”. It’s a powerful message from the youngster, and a harmonious ending to the proceedings.

As Manchester’s skyline changes and city centre expands, it’s safe to say that change, for better or for worse, has inspired Strategy. The Adelphi Lads Club EP is a refreshing addition to a busy year for Manchester music, and is another trophy in the cabinet for an underground legend’s now-extensive amazing track record.

Listen now on Spotify

Check out a full set of 100% Strategy productions here…