• By: Owen Maxwell

Album Reviews: February 18, 2019

Charles Bradley – Black Velvet (Brooklyn)

The world lost a legend when Charles Bradley died, and this posthumous record just hammers that point home more. With a range of what we love from Bradley and some unexpected sonic explorations, this album is a great sign-off for his career. We're hearing Bradley at the top of his game on "Can't Fight The Feeling" with his voice dancing around the grooves for a track that is funk-pop in its purest form. Horns bring a new warmth on "I Feel A Change" as Bradley looks inwards and beyond other people for a sense of growth. As we arrive at "Slip Away" however, there's a much more explorative mix of beats and energy, with Bradley starting to find new ground within his vintage tones. Bradley even gets aggressive on "Black Velvet" as he matches the cries of his horns for a track that shows how out there Bradley was about to get.

Chloe Dances In Twilight – Evening Sigh (Ottawa)

Even in a more stripped-down lo-fi indie, the emotions of Goth can really come through with surprising weight. As you listen through "The Turquoise and Twilight Coat" there's a subdued dread that opens into something vicious and grimy as the song goes on. Things focus in a lot more tightly on "This Bloom" for a track that bounces along with a sense of warmth but equally uncertain worry. Though "October Farm" certainly kicks out with a growl, it's the dancing licks from the guitars and vocals that really open this track up. "Evening Sigh" in itself pushes the depths of Chloe Dances in Twilight's aesthetic to create a kind of darkness they rarely tap into in this record.

Adeline – Ad-Uh-Leen (New York City)

It's so rare for an artist to so perfectly capture the essence of one artist but take it in its own unique direction. For Adeline's latest release, she brings a Solange-like vocal delivery to a genre-spanning mix of pop and R&B. The album opens with waves of psychedelic rock while a smooth beat pulls you into every glossy vocal Adeline delivers. She hits the dance floor with a fury on before however, with bass moving all over the track in a kind of smoky club feeling that's hiding something much more sinister. Adeline hits some of her most overt disco on "Echo" as her voice hits new entrancing peas while her drums really cut through with power. "Café Au Lait" is an all-out moving track as all the slinking bass and more hazy drumming makes you want to just cut loose and have fun.

Stubborn Debt – Steve St. Pierre (Ottawa)

With nothing but a thin sheen of lo-fi luster behind it, "Any Given Monday" shines in its simplicity and the earnest sense of pride it carries with it. While the lack of colour to the instrumentation hurts the overall appeal of "County Lines" there's such a worried sadness to the writing that it'll cut through to you nonetheless. St. Pierre starts bringing more depth to his guitar on "The Great Dig" which adds so much heartache to his words that it can really hurt to take in. As his sense of atmosphere really hits a whole world of its own on "Hold On Kid" the album ends with a sense of heavy dread that wouldn't have even been possible as it started.

Goodbye Honolulu – More Honey (Toronto)

Goodbye Honolulu have always kept things fun in their music while managing to find ways to never repeat themselves. Though this record definitely plays out more for fans than breaking the mould, they still leave you energized from the listen. As you start to explore the album's garage feeling, there's an immediately charming feeling to the writing of "Lorry Can't Love" that helps some its otherwise familiar qualities just feel like an old friend. They tap into an angry groove on "Take You Dancing" where they craft a kind of upbeat pop with tones of grunge thrown over the tones. Goodbye Honolulu find an infectious vocal hook to keep you listening until you're in love with all the wonderfully strange aesthetics they bring out in the song. Their rhythms and bass come out with a dynamic punch on "Typical," and let so many riffs play around in this space that you'll want to pick up your guitar and play along.