VANJESS

Exclaim! - - REVIEWS - RYAN B. PA­TRICK

Silk Can­vas

There’s a de­light­ful throw­back feel to the de­but full-length from sis­ters Ivana and Jes­sica Nwokike, col­lec­tively known as VanJess. The Cali-based soul duo sound ex­actly like what they’re highly in­flu­enced by — ’90s era R&B acts like Zhané, or the ’00s neo-soul of Floetry. Non-ironic vibes abound, pay­ing re­spect to the sounds that came be­fore while mov­ing — and groov­ing — things in a new di­rec­tion. The duo, of Nige­rian de­scent, can credit their come-up on their YouTube cov­ers of their favourite artists, and the 14-track Silk Can­vas feels like a love let­ter to mod­ern-day R&B. “Touch the Floor” comes off like a sum­mer jam straight outta of the mid-’90s, its Zhané-meets-TLC groove of­fer­ing breezy har­monies and an ap­pear­ance by fel­low emerg­ing star Masego. The UK-dance R&B feel of “Best Be­lieve” is in­fec­tious, Goldlink lends a hand on the straight­for­ward dance vibe that is “Through Enough” and Lit­tle Simz turns up on “Rewind Time,” a stripped-down slow-burner. VanJess show a lot of mu­si­cal colours, lean­ing on tight harmonics and a laid-back vo­cal ap­proach to de­liver one of the bet­ter R&B de­buts in a while. (In­de­pen­dent)

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