Grieves' Together/Apart is nostalgic as well as, in part, melancholic. Rolling around a lot of piano, full-of-groove (but slow) drums as well as a mixture of off-handedly sung choruses and carefully rapped verses, Grieves achieves that tone through a mixture of these elements in what amounts to a very poppy kind of hip-hop.

See, for example: the chorus of 'Lightspeed'; the sad arpeggio guitar, rattle and tambourine of 'Falling From You'; the balladesque verse of 'Boogie Man'; and the catchy choruses of 'Pressure Cracker' and 'Vice Grip'. Along with arrangements from co- producer Budo, Grieves synthesises pop with groove, to the best of effects. As cool as the last hours of sun on a sunny day, parts of Together/Apart are also infectious, and linger in your head for hours.

The album is also intensely personal – without actually being intense. That's not to say that the album is 'honest', a trait often described, maybe wrongly, with reverence – and more often than not with artists under the label of 'emo rap', a little derision. Rather it's that, while he could play at persona (as a lot of hip-hop, not to mention music in general, does, to great effect), Grieves instead goes for something biographical, without forcing that biography on you.

In other words, the album sounds personal to him, without it feeling like, if you can't relate, that you're missing something. Album opener 'Light Speed', a kind of summary of Greives's life and career up until Together/Apart, speaks, for example, of discovering "pogs and tamagachi" – and definitely dates the memory, in so doing – while also rolling off "Oh whatever man a lot of it was junk but we loved it made us feel cool little dumb kids runnin' round just for fun doin' dumb shit I was lightin' all my candles on both ends." The lyric feels specific to Grieves, mostly because his conversational style implies it, but that doesn't stop the track from resonating.

That's partly because the music is do damn catchy but also because, often, what Grieves speaks resonate not just with the sadness which, taken whole, characterises the album, but also with humour (like rapping about pogs) and with clear, precise imagery, as on 'Wild Things', towards the end of the album: "Yeah jump into the fire, just jump, yeah jump into the fire You're Mommy's little angel, I'm Daddy's little squire."

Together/Apart is a really solid album with some very good songs. It establishes Grieves as a thoughtful artist, and it makes you crave more. It also hints at a sound which Grieves (with or without Budo, but Budo could be key to it) might develop in the future: in the jazzy horn breakdowns of 'Bloody Poetry', on the opening dissonance of 'Speak Easy', the music unwinds itself, goes a little out of control and opens out into something more difficult. It'd be interesting to hear what Grieves, as a rapper, might do with that; and also, to be sure, what from Together/Apart could be added to it.