Published May 15, 2019Time is a luxury that neo-soul vet Rahsaan Patterson uses well on Heroes & Gods. Doing away with schedules and deadlines, Patterson gave himself eight years between albums to stew in his new sound. The result of his unhurried approach is a fulsome and ageless effort, bolstered by Patterson's supreme comfort in himself.
"Catch Me When I Fall" is classic Rahsaan Patterson, an upbeat and vulnerable love song that captures the innocence of his mid-'90s debut. Songs like "Soldier" are more experimental, playing with house-infused beats and twisted melodies.
Not every risk on the album pays off though; Patterson's take on Luther Vandross's "Don't You Know That" is tinny and diluted, and "Oxford Blues," while pleasant, sounds dated and out of place.
What shines on Gods is Patterson's impeccable command over his voice. He delivers ethereal whispers on "Sweet Memories" and dramatic, churchy runs on standouts like "Wonderful Star" and the eponymous "Heroes and Gods." On "Wide Awake," Patterson bends his vocals around steely guitars and jazzy brass, serving brash and delicate textures in equal measure. And "I Try," the album's apex, is the strongest display of Patterson's vocal dexterity.
Rahsaan Patterson is very much a "singer's singer" and Heroes & Gods is a study on masterful vocal technique. Listen, if for no other reason, to learn. (Shanachie)