8/10 Mike Staff review, 01 May 2014
Osunlade is back this week with a new LP on Yoruba. It plays at 45rpm but doesn't say that anywhere on the artwork, and the first track is instrumental, so don't make the same mistake I made and try to listen to it at 33. It sounds great at that speed, even when the vocals come in, but it's not right.
It's a tough LP to pin down. Despite its fairly brief running time, Osunlade flits from genre to genre with a slick assuredness that makes it sound easy. Opener 'Jade' is a delicately drifting piece of electronica with soft arpeggiated new age drones easing us into the album before 'Change' takes a total U-turn, switching to sparse funk-soul business full of sassy close harmonies which is like a glossy modern take on '80s giants like Prince and Rick James, and opens with some sweet slap-bass licks that'd make Thundercat proud.
The main components to Osunlade's sound here are funk and electronica, and the general aesthetic is crisp and bright and tightly arranged, but as I say there's all sorts going on, from the steel drums, flutes and handclaps of the woozy 'Better Man' to the clicky techno pulse of the title track and the sultry lounge-jazz sax of closer 'Kindness'. It's pieced together with real economy and skill and has lots of nice sounds on it. Very impressive.
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