WHERE: Steel Wool
WHERE: Steel Wool
So far 2016 is proving to be the most depressing year yet with all of these celebrity deaths occurring in its two weeks of existence, though one thing that can prove to be a healthy distraction to all of this darkness is funk. Arguably the genre with all the tools to turn that frown upside down, it’s only a case of perfect timing that it has reared it’s head this year. Anderson .Paak has had a ballsy throw into the limelight after appearing on the majority of Dr Dre’s Compton last year, and is now looking to capitalise on that with the release of his second studio album Malibu.
.Paak blends together elements of funk, hip hop and RnB to create a sound that is rife with slick guitar melodies, grooving basslines and an atmosphere that is lush with all kinds of wonderful instruments. The Bird kicks off this record by introducing this concoction into the eardrums by delivering all of the above alongside subtle contributions of piano, horns and vocal harmonies to produce one of the best instrumentals of the year so far. The vocals meander their way through the sounds effortlessly, and the switch between the easy-going chorus and the sweet flow of the verses is seamless. Excellent track.
What this introduction also announces is the pace of Malibu. Following tracks Heart Don’t Stand A Chance and The Waters maintain a steady, seductive momentum that is retained throughout the record. This allows each instrument and musical part to be heard perfectly as they bleed into one another to continue .Paak’s trait of creating excellent instrumentals. This is also impressive once the collaborators come into the speakers, as the verses from the likes of BJ The Chicago Kid, Schoolboy Q and The Game slip right into the sound with little interruption.
The album then incorporates some more electronic traits into it’s sound as tracks like Without You take on a more upbeat, synthetic approach to add some urgency into the flow of the record, whereas other tracks such as Come Down and Silicon Valley offer up a much more ballsy take with beefy basslines, with the latter providing a perfect instrumental for lyrics about a rather lovely, thick lady’s bottom.
Malibu is a wonderful record and one that definitely justifies Anderson .Paak’s hype over the last year or so. It’s a record that introduces a sound full of modern ideas on past sounds and allows it to breathe and progress at it’s own pace, producing groove after groove to result in one of the most entertaining listens of the year. This is definitely the sunshine after a stormy start to the year – an excellent album. For more reviews, interviews and good music check out Exploding Head Syndrome on Facebook and Twitter.