While song titles like "All Hands on Deck," "Cold Sweat" and "The Storm" sound more like buzzwords for a sea foraging adventure, these water-inspired motifs add cohesiveness and help entice listeners on R&B singer/songwriter Tinashe's solid debut, Aquarius. Those expecting a 17-track, single-driven affair will be sorely disappointed, as Tinashe prefers to immerse her vocals in darker soundscapes. It's in this comfort zone that she shines.

"Cold Sweat" commands her soft vocals over hollowed-out chords and impatient hi-hats while she reminisces on those who doubted her success. Meanwhile, title track "Aquarius" has her whisper-singing over a thinning bass line. However, the album runs into resistance in the latter half. While a talented entertainer, Tinashe is not the strongest singer, and it shows on songs like "Bated Breath," on which her attempt to hold a more throaty note falls flat. And one can't help but notice the risk-averse nature of her lyrics, singing about nothing more than hate/love romances, regretful flings and running from her heart "on the far side of the moon." Although Aquarius may not rock the boat with innovation, its more than confident in its stride, delivering an entertaining effort from the sultry singer. (RCA)
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