Foreign Exchange

Love in Flying Colors

Foreign ExchangeLove in Flying Colors
8
Not to rehash old stuff, but your thoughts on Love in Flying Colors will likely be based on when you first became aware of R&B/hip-hop duo of "rapper-turnt-singer"/artist Phonte Coleman and "North Carolina by way of the Netherlands" producer/instrumentalist Nicolay. Their solid 2004 debut, Connected, is still largely slotted into the "alternative hip-hop" category, while follow-ups Leave It All Behind and Authenticity arguably lean heavily on the R&B side of the equation. This has created a dedicated yet outspoken fanbase with collective thoughts on, and expectations of, how the perfect Foreign Exchange album should sound. Ultimately, Foreign Exchange are about creating their music their way — Love in Flying Colors continues along this wavelength. Smoothly romantic lead single "Call It Home" sounds like a long-lost Connected track updated for 2013. Standout numbers like "When I Feel Love," featuring Jeanne Jolly, "Right After Midnight," featuring Sy Smith, and "If I Knew Then," featuring Carmen Rodgers, highlight the group's progressive soul sound while bringing FE+Music lablemates and friends along for the ride. "The Moment" is a cool, but ordinary dance-type number; however, "Listen to the Rain" is, in a word, beautiful, and the best illustration of Phonte's heightened vocal mastery to date. Love in Flying Colors is a solid and consistent album — the "turnt" label assigned to Phonte (ex of North Carolina hip-hop crew Little Brother) is a bit unfair, as he's grown impressively as a vocalist and this is his coming out party, in terms of how he's developed and crafted a remarkably smooth singing style. Layered overtop of Nicolay's ever-evolving yet signature "electro-soul" sound, Love in Flying Colors is steeped in an honest, vulnerable lyricism bolstered by dreamy, feel-good synth vibes regarding the complex emotion called love and all it represents. (Independent)
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