Child­ish Gam­bino gets im­mersed in the Funk

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

It's OK not to "get" Child­ish Gam­bino's third stu­dio al­bum "Awaken, My Love!" With its lush sound­scapes and sparse lyrics, one can only gather that the funk-drenched lat­est re­lease from the multi-tal­ented Don­ald Glover is a col­lec­tion that is to be felt first and un­der­stood sec­ond - if un­der­stand­ing is pos­si­ble at all. Out­stand­ing first sin­gle "Me and Your Mama" and equally ar­rest­ing fol­low-up track "Red­bone" are the eas­i­est to di­gest of the 11-song set. Twin­kling chimes and a haunt­ing cho­rus give way to fiery elec­tric gui­tar and crash­ing drums on the for­mer, while Gam­bino coos and cries out in his falsetto across the swag­ger­ing pro­duc­tion of the lat­ter.

Both were pro­duced by Gam­bino's long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor and Swedish mu­sic com­poser Lud­wig Go­rans­son, who has a hand in the ma­jor­ity of the tracks. But Gam­bino and Go­rans­son's lat­est project to­gether is noth­ing like the pre­vi­ous al­bums and mix­tapes. The car­toon­ish pro­duc­tion and silly word­play are gone. In­stead of rap­ping, Gam­bino sings from the gut, sound­ing like Rick James on the spine-tin­gling "Zom­bies," fea­tur­ing up-and-com­ing singer-rap­per Kari Faux. "They can smell your money, and they want your soul," Gam­bino sings, in a warn­ing that could eas­ily be about the mu­sic in­dus­try or Hol­ly­wood - the "At­lanta" show cre­ator and mu­sic artist knows both.

His voice is ghoul­ish on the up­lift­ing Par­lia­men­tFunkadelic-in­spired "Have Some Love" and des­per­ate on the chaotic "Riot," which in­cludes in its cred­its mem­bers of the leg­endary funk col­lec­tive. Gam­bino chan­nels an eas­ier 70s vibe on "Baby Boy." (Think: Sly and the Fam­ily Stone.) "Lit­tle hands, lit­tle feet, tiny heart, tiny beat," he sings be­fore plead­ing, ". don't take him away." It's easy to get lost in the mu­sic, with one psy­che­delic-tinged track wash­ing into an­other. That is, with the ex­cep­tion of the beachy, an­noy­ingly catchy and slightly out of place "Cal­i­for­nia." Gam­bino pushes the lim­its of his sound on "Awaken, My Love!" and while it's not all smooth sail­ing, it's a trippy ride worth tak­ing. — AP

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