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Some­thing About April II

L.A. law school grad turned self­taught com­poser Adrian Younge has had a stealthy as­cent fol­low­ing 2012’s Some­thing About April, col­lab­o­rat­ing on full projects with the Del­fon­ics, Bi­lal, Souls of Mis­chief and two al­bums with Ghost­face Kil­lah. Save for maybe the Dap­tones, no one is re­vis­it­ing the psy­che­delic soul of the ’60s and ’70s with this level of au­then­tic­ity and rev­er­ence. 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.

The cul­mi­na­tion of th­ese el­e­ments re­sults in an­other solid Adrian Younge pro­ject, but one won­ders how much longer he can keep to this for­mat. Younge’s in­cal­cu­la­ble tal­ents de­serve more than be­ing record col­lec­tor’s trivia fod­der. He’s ca­pa­ble of mak­ing some hits, break­ing new artists, and step­ping be­yond the ac­claim of ’90s hip-hop heads. Where the orig­i­nal Some­thing About April was a show-and-prove les­son in sam­ple cre­ation, II is a dirt-off-the-shoul­der procla­ma­tion of songcraft. (Lin­ear Labs, lin­ear­lab­smu­ MICHAEL J. WAR­REN

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