Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Album Review: Black Pumas - Black Pumas

Black Pumas
Black Pumas
**** out of *****

The combo of Grammy Award-winning guitarist / producer Adrian Quesada and 27-year-old songwriter Eric Burton have crafted a winning debut with this self title record from their new band, Black Pumas. The Austin, TX based band have spun some great retro-soul that is not beholden to the genre and works as a late night get down vibe and a affirming testament to the solid music/songs.

Quesada is a Texas soul music veteran, having worked with Brownout and others, Burton is a relative newcomer and the partnership gives off a soft warm glow as "Black Moon Rising" ascends to the heavens. While the opening track sets the tone the hits just keep on coming. "Colors" is a positive jam speaking to unity while "Know You Better" is a bright love song that uses crisp drums and electric keyboards to excellent effect. 

The restrained horns and deep bass come out to play during "Fire" as directions are given about help and heartache around the groove while "Touch The Sky" and "OCT 33" both use southwestern guitar styling and focus on Burton's vocals as the instrumentation rises around them. There are shades of Otis Redding throughout but the duo are well versed in the experts in soul and others such as RZA like production with drum beats and guitar warbles.

"Stay Gold" bring in strings and flexes Burton's vocal range while "Old Man" uses a squirrely guitar line and layers of bubbling keyboards as drums slap and loop around. Closer "Sweet Conversation" is more delicate based around acoustic plucking and bird chirps with sonic collage created by Quesada behind the layered vocals of Burton.  

If there is a detriment it is that some of the songs may run on a bit too long in relation to their ideas, but overall this is a minor quibble for such an impressive first collaboration. This is such a confident debut from this pair it is exhilarating,each song rings with confidence talent and a nod to their retro-soul roots while digging on the future. That future is bright for Black Pumas.
Support the artists, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

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