Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Album Review: Brittany Howard - Jaime

Brittany Howard
**** out of *****

On the Alabama Shakes second album Sound & Color things got out there in experimental fashion and it is now clear who the instigator of that shift was as Brittany Howard's first solo record is a genre defying coming out party.  Jaime has the feeling of an artist searching for her own voice and sound in exciting fashion. Not a perfect statement, more like a work in progress, but for a first solo album there are flashes of brilliance from Howard.

The first single might just be the best of the bunch as "History Repeats" is delightful with its syrupy funk sound and killer percussion as an ode to Prince (whose influence is all over the record) via Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell P-funk. The song, like many here, is quick, ending before truly taking off. There is something exciting about truncating the jam, but hopefully some future numbers will extend as this vamp is intoxicating.

Howard's voice is just as bad ass, shifting from crooning to meaty, falsetto to spoken word from song to song each variation a direct hit. She pleads to an unrequited lover in "Georgia" (another track that soars to close) and delivers a modern torch song around strings, fuzzed guitars and a great groove during "Presence". The soulfulness and R&B vibe are alive for the bumping retro charm of "Stay High" (the closest to an Alabama Shakes tune on the record), the grooving "Tomorrow" and the luscious "Baby" as Howard moves towards more modern dance ready beats around her powerful singing.

Her more plain spoken approach relationship with God song "He Loves Me" adds a realness while "13 Century Metal" uses a digital dance beat supporting self proclamations and spoken word testaments about positivity while striving to do right. The track "Goat Head" is a personal stunner as Howard deals with racial animosity that she has dealt with from birth including the disturbing imagery of the title object.

The acoustic based blues number "Short and Sweet" is far from straight ahead twelve bars but it proves Howard can take the past and meld it with present and future while the huge synth ballad "Run To Me" ends the album with a weepy showcase of her powerful artistic presence. There are experiments, stops and starts but overall Jaime is success as Howard continues to prove she is a follow talent.

Support the artist, buy the record and peep some video below:

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