Published Apr 08, 2015Does society need yet another musical act that recalls '80s electro-pop and '90s R&B? Montreal's Black Atlass (a.k.a. Alex Fleming) argues yes; Jade comes off as Frank Ocean meets the Style Council.
This ten-track EP was "one-stop shopped" — written, composed and performed by Fleming. On vocals, he gets the vibe across, although his voice isn't as robust as artists in his lane such as Majid Jordan or JMSN. Track "Young West Coast" is a clear example of his new-school fusion; "Geneviève" is distinctly undistinguished, and the old-timey chords of "Valentine" don't quite hit the heartstrings as envisioned. That being said, a smooth ditty like "Nights Like This" comes off like a hit Miguel track, a number like "Your Body" is as evocative as it is ominous and haunting guitar strums punctuate the intriguing "Blonde," all revealing that if Black Atlass hasn't arrived yet, he is still surely on his way.
Jade is imperfect yet polished, the work of an artist whose songwriting had yet to match his ambitions. It's a noble album by an artist who promises to get better as he continues to find his voice. (Independent)