Binki – ‘Motor Function’ EP review: a compelling work of hope and fear

Written after a whirlwind period of viral fame and personal upheaval, the Brooklyn-based artist is unafraid to show his vulnerable side

Binki’s personal mission statement is simple: to make some space to raise his own voice. In the three years since he uploaded funky DIY ditty ‘Marco’ to streaming services, the Brooklyn-based artist has had to navigate an upward career path while figuring out his own priorities; he earned unexpected TikTok smashes with 2019 singles ‘Heybb!’ and ‘Sea Sick’ while training to be an actor, and landed a deal with the FADER Label (Clairo, Slayyyter) the following year. His enviable CV may have been achieved through hardship – rejections from casting auditions spawned major confidence issues for Binki – yet it still paints a picture of an ambitious musician always seeking to challenge themselves.

‘Motor Function’, Binki’s wonderfully tight and electric debut EP, establishes him as just that: a versatile singer-songwriter, whose magnetic choruses thrive off duelling forces of freedom and anxiety. On the four tracks that make up his first extended release, he takes his fizzing indie sound to harsher places than before, traversing crisp shifts in intensity and tempo, and mashing in gloomy rap verses.

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The cooly menacing ‘Clay Pigeon’ is a twisted indie-disco thumper, made of whirring, unrelenting electronic beats, magnetic basslines, and a heartbroken hook that thrums along with the same wired intensity as a shot of nervous energy. When he sings of struggling to cope in a fractured relationship (“I play around and I’m shooting you/So naked/So sadistic”), it’s like hearing someone give a pep talk to themselves, with lyrics that offer self-assured counters to vulnerability issues.

Similarly striking moments continue to colour ‘Motor Function’. Highlight ‘Revolve’ upholds the EP’s overarching acceptance of difficult truths as it moves into the murky territory of romantic frustration: “Let’s just say we were better off open!”, he sighs heavily at one point. On ‘Landline’, meanwhile, Binki sounds as though he is singing from an empty, echoing room, his voice wobbly and distorted, as weightless keys and skittering rhythms spiral around him to mirror dizziness.

But Binki’s business is of progress, not misery. These songs may be fraught with scrappy melodies and angsty melodrama, yet their creator’s determination to carve out and embrace a brighter future is palpable. “Now, I’m trying to accept and understand that personal growth is something you always have to be chasing,” he recently told NME. It’s a statement that Binki proudly upholds on ‘Motor Function’: he allows his pain to flow through him, not trap him, and the results are liberating.

Details

Binki Motor Function EP

  • Record label: FADER Label
  • Release date: August 13
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