Black Atlass Pain & Pleasure

Black Atlass Pain & Pleasure
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Black Atlass is a Montreal-based artist and the latest addition to the XO Records roster. The young artist rose to prominence with his song "Paris," after it was used by Louis Vuitton in an ad campaign. After releasing his self-produced debut, he signed with fellow Canadian R&B star the Weeknd and releases his sophomore project Pain & Pleasure.
 
The album is a strong followup effort when compared to his previous album, Haunted Paradise, however, it still lacks a sense of well-rounded personal identity. The first two songs, "Something Real" and "Fantasy," open the album up with Atlass's layered vocals accompanied by simple drums and pianos. Although catchy, Black Atlass wears his labelmate's sonic and lyrical influences too strongly.
 
Midway through the album, during "Shadows," listeners are given Atlass with little to no voice modifications, and a stripped-down beat. The song is a high-point in the project, showcasing the vocal talent of the young artist and a raw energy unlike other contemporary R&B singers. Unfortunately, the energy ebbs away during the second half of the album, slowly receding back into the comfortable area of layered vocals and simple instrumentals.
 
Overall the album is on pace with other sounds being produced, and popular within the realm of R&B right now. The sophomore effort also fits the sonic region occupied by XO Records, popularized by the Weekend. However, it does leave listeners wanting more of a memorable well-rounded sound out of Black Atlass. (XO Records)