Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Album Review: Esperanza Spalding- Emily’s D+Evolution

Esperanza Spalding
Emily's D+Evolution
***and1/2 out of *****

There is a lot happening on Esperanza Spalding's followup to her breakthrough Radio Music Society. Her fifth album is titled Emily's D+Evolution an ode to her middle name and muse,; it is a scattered musical and lyrical affair that is searching, yet engaging all the same.

The talented bassist, cellist, singer/songwriter flirts and melds lots of genre's all in wave of sound and experimentation on this disk singing through her alter ego. The songs/singing can be jarring but the artist seems to be following a powerful muse throughout.

The opener "Good Lava" has metallic guitar flashes paired with stuttering drum parts, a clear indication this isn't going to be your standard album. Spalding's voice is layered all over with some dexterous singing and tons of Oh's and Ah's for backing support. Pop comes more to the forefront on the honest "Unconditional Love" and the acoustic based "Noble Nobles". Her lyrics and singing are dizzying at times "Ebony and Ivy" bombards the listener from the start while "One" lets Esperanza's falsetto shine over a huge chorus.

The artists jazz roots bleed through noticeably on "Judas" and "Elevate or Operate" that can remind of Wayne Shorter and legends, but in a modern pop context. This phrasing and combination can still be awkward at times, but the interesting blend grows with listens. That transitional or searching feeling can be seen on a track like "Funk The Fear" which tries to blend P-Funk power with her style and never comes off as a polished project, but is fun in its trying.  

While Emily's D+Evolution doesn't have a stand out track that sticks with you it does enjoy some experiments that are opposite ends of the spectrum and show this unique artists range. "Rest In Pleasure" is a postcoital exploratory number that breaths with sexy confidence while a cover from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory closes the disk in anything but standard fashion as Spalding's piano based climax is powerful.

Far from a finished product, Spalding is an artist who ranges all over and listeners are better off because of it.
Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:

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