R&B music has certainly evolved past where it lied dormant for several years. Artists like New York’s serpentwithfeet have certainly seen to the fact that the genre embraces new touches to steer itself into a new world. When the singer songwriter began he mixed experimental tones in with his R&B and delivered dense new interpretation to how the music played out. On his latest album DEACON he takes things a step further by evoking his sound with a mix of nineties R&B and gospel to come out of the other side shining.
The album is a joyful embrace of two men in love with one another. That happiness flows throughout the bulk of the album, and it cannot be missed it any way. It’s beautiful and touching gestures of intimacy shouldn’t get lost on you. Opening with the song “Hyacinth” things quickly delve deep into emotional tones. The piano driven song gives you a new way to hear the vocals and focus on the words. The gospel nuance here gets met with an orchestral flow that reimagines what modern R&B can be. This is followed by the slow burner “Same Size Shoe.” The song offers up a loving sound that holds a falsetto between backing vocals that give a heavenly tone in how the song plays out. Musically serpentwithfeet sounds refreshed and honest. While some of the dark synth tones aren’t as present as in his earlier works, this new sound works in a way that elevates his sound.
Where “Amir” has this sultry tone that showcases the vocals and gives them space to stretch out, “Sailor’s Superstition” digs deeper into a groove that unleashes a more nineties R&B tone. The beats and synths together here fall underneath vocals that extend beyond just words on a page. This continues with a future sound on “Wood Boy.” The experimental beat that plays alongside these scratched tones give the weight of the song the chance to stroll out through the vocals. Though “Derrick’s Beard” has all of the makings of a true gospel classic, the song you can really soak up the magic of the album comes with “Old & Fine.” The way the beat has that deep bass and words fall underneath before the vocals come in and drive the track is masterful. The airy notes from the vocals let the beat hold your ears while serpentwithfeet delivers his falsetto in a more focused direction. The overall effect here is a new sound from the heart and one that we can all welcome in these uncertain times.
DEACON is available to purchase directly from Secretly Canadian on various platforms. It is also available to pick up in all digital music stores or to stream wherever you stream music.
Image Credits: Album Art Courtesy of Pitch Perfect/Secretly Canadian.