Dwele Some Kinda

When releasing a sophomore (major label) effort, there are two avenues to take. One is to deliver to the people more of the same and be accused of playing it safe, or one can expand upon the sound and risk alienating the established fan base. After 2003’s semi-successful Subject, Detroit’s Dwele opts to deliver more of the same R&B/soul — but with a twist. Dwele not so much expands upon his "neo-soul” sound as he embellishes on it, bringing to the table a brassier Earth, Wind & Fire sound to complement his signature array of stacked harmony vocals and mid-tempo grooves. It’s a nuanced approach that slightly disappoints on the first go around but grows on you with successive spins. The first single "I Think I Love U” is average at best and perhaps a poor indicator of the whole album. "A Pimp’s Dream” comes across corny on first listen but the silky smooth subtext comes clear in time. The same can be said for "FlapJacks,” "Weekend Love” and "Know Your Name” — soulful tracks that reveal themselves on repeated listens. And that’s pretty much all you can ask for from an artist. (Virgin)