Kelela Cut 4 Me

Kelela Cut 4 Me
8
Without any context, the title of DC-born R&B/soul singer Kelela's Cut 4 Me sounds like some NEET-inspired, suicidal novel. Instead, it's a credible cohesion of '90s house-ish sounds and soul. With production being handled by Fade to Mind founder Kingdom and the rest of the collective, each beat features a flash of character that somehow never overwhelms and, at times, yields to Kelela's strong vocals. Semi-opener "Enemy" hosts an oxidized, steel pan-sounding clang that moves beneath Kelela like tectonic plates, while "Keep it Cool" keeps the singer's flighty vocals in tow. However, the album runs into problems during its final minutes. The more traditional R&B offerings ("A Lie" and "Cherry Coffee") reveal that the singer's vocals aren't quite as exciting when the beats are stripped of their eclectic exoskeletons. Despite these small blemishes, Cut 4 Me grows on you like that old childhood scar you've grown fond of. (Independent)