Children Of Zeus’ Endearing Soul Shines Bright On ‘Balance’


Words: Yemi Abiade

When Children Of Zeus arrived on the scene in the early part of the 2010s, they brought with them an updated, contemporary take on the sounds of the past. Utilising the very best of hip-hop, neo-soul and reggae, Konny Kon and Tyler Daley merged the spirit of boom-bap and reggae’s rhythmic composition with the sweet, sun-kissed soul you would find in a radio set by Choice FM legend, DJ Jenny Francis. Smooth numbers such as “Still Standing” and “Smoke With Me”, flying relatively under the radar of the general public, proved the Manchester duo were building something special. Expanding their world view on 2017 EP The Story So Far and 2018 debut album Travel Light, they proved their steez was unlike anyone in the UK, with Tyler’s heavenly vocal tones meshing superbly with Konny’s rugged raps for a balanced, breezy take on life, love and music.

Fitting, as new album Balance continues to anchor COZ in the world they’ve created, but this time, they have levelled up in every aspect. Between album opener “Sunrise” and closer “Sunset”, Konny and Tyler keep a tightly constructed, conceptual offering exciting by impeccable storytelling and soul searching, the type not too dissimilar to a confessional in church—a motif explored in the gorgeous gospel-like melodies throughout the LP. The previously released “No Love Song” exudes the brutal honesty of rejecting what is expected of them, while tackling feelings of self-doubt and heartlessness that make the performers recluses in their own narrative. That honesty rings true right through Balance as COZ tackle relationships, identity and self-improvement in a way that is infinitely nourishing. By the title track, featuring Akemi Fox and Georgie Sweet, they seek an inner stability that will inform their lives on the outside, emotionally, physically and musically, informed by the advice passed down to them by the olders in their lives. Because, indeed, following the teachings of previous generations, especially musically, has gotten them this far.

Across production by COZ themselves as well as UK natives Beat Butcha, Cam Griffin and Cay Caleb, Balance offers a less-is-more model, ranging from slow-burning soul (“Be Someone”, “Nice & Sweet”, “I Know”) to high-tempo, J-Dillaesque sequences (“I Need You”, “Balance”, “Cali Dreams”) and everything in between, a perfect backdrop for the duo to find themselves. Konny’s monotone raps cut through, purposeful and driven as he weaves together a story of striving for the best possible version of himself. He proves that, lyrically, he is not to be slept on. Meanwhile, Tyler’s textured, layered singing automatically uplifts every song, adding a polish to the album in a way only he can. It makes every lyric of theirs hit just that little bit harder. Their strive for personal growth anchors the album; on “Cali Dreams”, the boys pray for better days and warmer climates than the bitter Manchester cold, Konny absconds YouTube views in favour of live interaction with devoted fans in “The Most Humblest Of All Time, Ever” and “Love Again” explores the fear they may never find the one. Everyday struggles that are always relatable, never convoluted. By the gospel-inspired outro “Sunset”, Children Of Zeus are thankful for the path they’ve followed, hopeful for brighter days towards the journey to fulfilment.

If Balance proves anything, it’s that Konny and Tyler are one of one in their musical vision and execution. Honing in on the qualities that make them so great has proved a masterstroke, and this album, as handy for a barbecue in the sun as it is for late night self-pondering, strikes a perfect negotiation between the two moods. Balance is one step closer to ultimate greatness for COZ.

Posted on June 09, 2021