By far and away the newest album I’ve had to review, being released just over a year ago. I have the harder task of giving my thoughts, while the artist is still maliable in the public’s mind. This is hardly the historical works idea that I expectected but nevertheless a great opportunity.
I found myself falling for this album fairly quickly; Gallant has put together this selection to be an album! This may sound mundane at first but some artists assemble a list of tracks to be an album, whereas others make sure it’s to be heard in its entirety. The tracks First and Last serve as introduction and coda to the whole album, giving a really fitting feed in and feed out.
My brain immediately started to scrabble for stylistic similarities and rather crudely decided that this album essentially respesents the offspring of Prince and Bon Iver that went to school for contemporary R&B. It sodding well works.
By far and away my favourite track of the album is Weight in Gold. The chorus is so good with a bare vocal which gets supported with a strong growling synth. Further, I am a sucker for the chord sequence that starts with a major home chord and goes to the major of the third, allowing for the emergence of the augmented 5th of the home… I’m gushing classical music theory here, I may take a moment.
Gallant shows a lot of different writing styles across different tracks with various different influences and styles. One description, I read placed Bone + Tissue as a 90s influenced track and its something that personally I can’t see, despite following the chord sequence from The Spice Girls’ “Say you’ll be there”. (In one swift move I’ve managed to put off a huge bunch of casual readers.)
The man’s vocal talents are brilliant, perfectly bouncing around the emotional hit of his high range, and it’s constantly utilised in a really solid way. Episode really shines here and it’s were I think I got the idea of the Prince influence. Skipping Stones is another gem of the album, backed up with the feature of Jhené Aiko, who compliments him beautifully, along with having such a rich, sharp voice in her own right.
The album seemed to be born out of the track First, bursting into Talking to Myself (another really solid track and great opener). In the final tracks we hit Chandra, it’s a little more orchestral, richer and slower. It’s really such a poignant end to the album and so worth it, truly beautiful. The last notes hold and fade into the closing few seconds of the track Last, and damn it, I miss it already!
Is this album for you?
I’m struggling to find people who couldn’t enjoy this album. It’s sound is just pure easy listening R&B and true, like most of the time, that isn’t for everyone. Honestly I have to recommend those just looking for a new modern sounding album. The world has many but always need more like this; I just feel better for having heard this album.
- Writing: 9/10
- Performance: 9/10
- Style: 9/10