Published Jan 25, 2017If Omar comes off like R&B's elder statesman on Love in Beats, it's not just because he's been at it for almost 30 years — it's because he's sounded this way since day one.
On the British musician's eighth LP, and first in four years, Omar embraces modern production techniques (courtesy of his brother Scratch Professor) and hipper electronic sounds, all while keeping his brand of majestic, dignified soul intact. Part of the charm of this 12-track album lies in the fact that Omar manages to utilize so many diverse facets of his delivery while keeping such remarkable control over his voice, giving the listener his companionable croon on album opener "I Want It to Be," his rhythmic talk-sing on "Feeds My Mind" (featuring Floacist) and his soulful falsetto on closer "Destiny" (featuring Jean Michel Rotin).
Omar has assembled an eclectic band of musicians and guest vocalists here, giving songs like "De Ja Vu" (featuring Mayra Andrade), "Vicky's Tune" (featuring Robert Glasper and Ty) and "Doobie Doobie Do" an international feel, venturing into French yé-yé, Caribbean beats and New Orleans jazz, respectively. Love in Beats finds Omar's brand of R&B at its most peerless, timeless and, yes… mature. (Do Right!)