Published Jan 22, 2016Los Angeles law school grad turned self-taught composer extraordinaire Adrian Younge has had a stealthy ascent following 2012's Something About April. Since then, Adrian Younge has collaborated on full projects with the Delfonics, Bilal, Souls of Mischief and two albums with Ghostface Killah. He has carved a niche that is both untouchable and shockingly consistent. Save for maybe the Daptones, no one is revisiting the psychedelic soul of the '60s and '70s with the level of authenticity and reverence Younge does. Something About April II continues this streak.
Fittingly, he's also become one of the most sampled new artists, having inadvertently provided the sound bed for Royce da 5'9" & DJ Premier, Common and Jay Z's celeb-filled reimagining of "The Artist is Present." Elements of this new record sound as if they were composed with that calculation already in mind, such as the mostly instrumental "Sea Motet" and "April Sonata." The extra sloppy harpsichord bounce of "Hear My Love" seems to beckon for a Wu-Gambino or six to make an appearance, but alas, there is no rap on this project.
Something About April II enlists help from a diverse group of vocalists including Bilal, Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier, Younge's Venice Dawn bandmate Loren Oden and Israel's Karolina. Each provides a distinct texture, but gold is unearthed with the pairing of Sadier and Bilal on "Step Beyond" and "La Ballade," bringing to mind the Samba '68 duets between Marcos and Anamaria Valle. Raphael Saadiq also makes an appearance, on the surprisingly underwhelming "Magic Music." Karolina proves her worth as a powerful soloist on the introductory single "Winter Is Here."
The culmination of these elements results in a yet another solid Adrian Younge project, but one wonders how much longer he can keep to this format before staleness sets in. Younge's incalculable talents deserve more than being record collector's trivia fodder. He's capable of making some hits, breaking a few new artists, and stepping beyond the acclaim of '90s hip-hop heads. Where the original Something About April was a show a prove lesson in sample creation, part II is a dirt-off-the-shoulder proclamation of songcraft. Maybe someone should hire this guy? (Linear Labs)