RAFTER An­i­mal Feel­ings (Asth­matic Kitty)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

It’s rare that an artist makes his in­flu­ences so ob­vi­ous, and yet comes up with some­thing unique. In the case of Rafter Roberts (yes, that is his real name), early-ca­reer Prince and late-ca­reer Ste­vie Won­der are the pri­mary ones, and Rafter’s aim seems to be pro­duc­ing a mod­ern ver­sion of that early 1980s sound. It’s a lofty goal, and in­cred­i­bly, he has suc­ceeded. An­i­mal Feel­ings feels like the first of­fi­cial sum­mer jam and is one of my fa­vorite records in a year that is al­ready loaded with won­der­ful mu­sic. This is an al­bum that makes huge state­ments while mind­ing the lit­tle de­tails. There’s the cow­bell rat­tle among the Brazil­ian stomp on the in­fec­tious “Time­less Form, Form­less Time.” There’s the jux­ta­po­si­tion of a tin­kling pi­ano and Godzilla bass drum on “An­i­mal Feel­ings.” There’s the hand-clap segue be­tween the fire­works funk of “Fruit” and the sub­lime “Feels Good.” Roberts has a gift for sweep­ing you up into his cho­ruses like a dance part­ner prac­ti­cally pulling your arm out of socket to get you on the floor. He knows his way around a drum kit and how to make the hu­man voice one of the funki­est in­stru­ments in his arse­nal. The best part is, he shows re­straint in ap­ply­ing all these tools, so the mu­sic has room to breathe. I think Prince and Ste­vie would prob­a­bly ap­prove.

— Robert Ben­ziker

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