This is a heartfelt, intricate and at times a loud/downright catchy neo R&B album. This R&B trend towards something totally different and new. This continues like no other genre evolving quickly as there are many artistic successes taking flight in this category. For example, I have grown to adore James Blake, How to Dress Well, Amateur Best, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean and Jessie Ware to name a few & in some cases a part of my past reviews. The number of names is growing and the talent is well suited forever making their mark on R&B. It is so very timely, now that we are in 2013: where do we go from here?
I must say that this album by Autre Ne Veut (aka Arthur Ashin) is gorgeous. The reoccurring motif in this album is a screaming falsetto with soft but always amazing hooks and large choruses. I think that this may become a cornerstone album of this genre. It’s a sweepingly melodic and heartfelt album & it tugs on your emotions. The music is complex and rhythmic with a range of tempos. Autre features great mix of synths, guitar, percussion and keyboards. The non-electronic instruments range from harps, trumpets & guitars. Sonically, it’s a smorgasbord of sounds tasty to the ears and poised to trigger the strings of your heart.
On the opening track “Play by Play”, it opens with a harp and a belting of “Baby…and I said Baby” from Arthur… then vocals speed up in tempo and a racing with synth line splashes in with a soulful element. The lyrics build up interrupted by a shout and a hit on the keyboards. I can’t get enough of the first track from this wonderful new album. It’s infectious, cool and subtle but not too subtle as evident with the shouting (a soulful falsetto and echoing female backing vocals). The following tracks continue in the same mood and keep playing on your heartstrings. A wonderful sound journey continues with synths, popping percussion and timely guitar chops (it’s his voice range and falsetto gliding it through). “Counting” has a tight choppy synth and beautiful backing voices. Noisy guitars and trumpet snippets are peppered in, all the while Arthur’s emotional falsetto is shining through the beautiful synth and guitar sounds. This is all accompanied with a huge chorus “I’m counting on the idea….” He whispers through the layered lyrics, noisy synths and trumpet crashes. “ I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is a highly danceable, chorus driven song with a choppy keyboard sequences and searing guitar solos reminiscent of Prince from his albums during the early to mid ‘80’s. There is so much going on in these compositions. The listener is with Arthur. The beat and melody are all in sync as well. The only drawback about this album is that it ends after the 11th song.
This is already one of my favorite albums so far of the year. It’s perfect. 10/10. Buy it here.
Artist: Autre Ne Veut
Label: Kemado Records, Inc., D/B/A Mexican Summer.
Release date: February 26, 2013
Track Listings: 1)Play by Play 2) Counting 3) Promises 4) Ego Free Sex Free 5) A Lie 6) Warning 7) Gonna Die 8) Don’t Ever Look Back 9) I Wanna Dance with Somebody 10) World War 11) Counting (Remix) [feat. Mykki Blanco]