“Smalltownboy”, a cover of Bronski Beat’s famous hit, is going to be released on 16 April 2021 by Emic Lo-fi/Hip Hop, signed by Sonny Hollis and Frankie Flow.
The duo from Campania completely overturns the original song, stripping it of its synth pop mood and reworking it in a minimalist key with clear Lo-fi/Hip Hop influences: the clean sound of the electric guitar is the backbone of a version that is driven by a dry groove and Frankie Flow’s brilliant voice.
The Lo-fi/Hip Hop influences can all be heard in the rhythm of the beat and in the overall sound, which is deliberately intimate and direct. The choice, surprising to the ear, to minimise the impact of the refrain through dynamic breaks, enhances a cover that by its very nature wants to go in the opposite direction to the original. The absence of the riff that made Bronski Beat’s original version famous is a clear stylistic statement of intent.
With this operation of musical and stylistic de-construction, the most intimate and intense sides of a famous and glossy world hit of the 80s emerge. Sonny Hollis and Frankie Flow succeed in adding personality and originality to a song that already has a precise identity: moving from the 80s of the 20th century to the 20s of the new millennium and from sparkling synth pop to the most contemporary and minimal Lo-fi, the duo gives new life to an iconic song.
Behind the creation of this cover there are not only artistic motivations, but also the desire to send a precise message. Sonny Hollis and Frankie Flow themselves clarify: “Small Town Boy is an intra-generational anthem that speaks of the discomfort of those who struggle to assert their identity. We wanted to recapture the central message of this song by stripping it down completely, with the aim of bringing out the more intimate and intense side of this pop masterpiece.”