Airtight's Revenge

By David DacksSeeing as this album has been ten years in the making, it's no surprise that there's a sense of importance about it. Every second screams personal statement, from the weighty, heartfelt lyrics to Bilal's anguished, soulful vocals. There are no throwaway skits or breezy in-da-club jams; it's 100 percent pure soul. Bilal's brand is utterly contemporary, meaning it's a mix of everything that's come before while adding a raft of futuristic sonic touches. At its heart is the classic, album-oriented prog soul of the '70s, with a strong, jazzy undercurrent, but it's much more than that. Bilal's reedy, Sly-meets-Prince voice runs down metaphysical and personal subjects overtop a continuously changing musical landscape, with personal highlights being the Grammy nominated "All Matter," with pianist Robert Glasper, and the funky lurch of "Move On." There's some muted prog jazz, some left coast bass, disco ("Free" has so much remix potential) and some extremely well constructed electronic blurps'n'beeps. Little of it feels forced, save for a few overcooked rock guitar histrionics. Airtight's Revenge has something for everyone who appreciates the entire spectrum of soul.
(Plug Research)
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